Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Babies to fight war on waste

02.12.2003


The type of nappies mothers use in the maternity ward may influence the type they continue to use for their baby, according to a new study by the University of Surrey, funded by SITA Environmental Trust.



The Environmental Psychology Research Group at the University partnered the Maternity Unit at East Surrey Hospital and Cotton Bottoms Nappy Laundry Service to give parents the chance to use cotton nappies at the hospital after giving birth. Some also took the opportunity to try Cotton Bottoms laundry service free of charge when they returned home.

“Parents who choose disposable nappies mostly do so because of convenience, while cotton nappies are mostly chosen by people who are more concerned by the waste generated by disposables,” Rachel Leach, the researcher explained.


Their research found that many parents had been surprised to find that disposable nappies were not biodegradable or recyclable. “Disposable nappies account for about 4% of household waste going to landfill and it is currently estimated that they will decompose in 200 – 500 years.”

Parents who had chosen disposable nappies for their baby were as aware as other parents about the landfill problem linked to disposable nappies. They believed that this would only be addressed when at least half of all parents used cotton nappies. Indeed, one of the main reasons that disposable nappies are chosen anyway is that parents seemed to feel ‘everybody else uses them, so why shouldn’t I?’.

Cotton nappies need to be easier to buy if more parents are to be convinced to use them. Parents who chose to use cotton nappies for their baby usually found it a challenge to research and buy what they needed. But these parents were willing to act on their environmental concerns rather than take the view that it is more convenient to buy and use disposables. The research shows that there are premium times for promoting information about alternatives to disposable nappies.

Trying cotton nappies in the maternity unit influenced how easy parents thought they were to use. Parents who believed that they would be able to use, buy and wash cotton nappies were most likely to choose them for their baby. The majority of parents also reported that they were likely to carry on with the type of nappy with which they had started. Cost was not considered an important decision making factor to either those who chose disposable or cotton nappies. An added benefit for the hospital was that they drastically cut their incinerator cost for getting rid of nappy waste.

The free laundry trial was most appreciated by parents who were intending to use disposable nappies. Few parents who took part would have been likely to try cotton nappies without this offer. About one third intended to carry on using cotton nappies even though they had originally intended to use disposables.

“A change in maternity unit policy from one in which all parents supply their own disposable nappies to that of supplying parents with cotton nappies during their post-natal stay would impact on the parents’ attitudes and waste minimisation behaviour. Parents should remember that using cotton nappies does not mean that they are not ‘allowed’ to use disposable nappies on occasion.” Ms Leach concluded.

The research was undertaken in partnership with East Surrey Hospital and Cotton Bottoms. The project received £82,000 funding from SITA Environmental Trust through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. Additional support came from Surrey County Council, Crawley Borough Council, Tandridge District Council, Mole Valley District Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

Liezel Tipper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.surrey.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Deep Brain Stimulation Provides Sustained Relief for Severe Depression
19.03.2019 | Universitätsklinikum Freiburg

nachricht AI study of risk factors in type 1 diabetes
06.03.2019 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The taming of the light screw

DESY and MPSD scientists create high-order harmonics from solids with controlled polarization states, taking advantage of both crystal symmetry and attosecond electronic dynamics. The newly demonstrated technique might find intriguing applications in petahertz electronics and for spectroscopic studies of novel quantum materials.

The nonlinear process of high-order harmonic generation (HHG) in gases is one of the cornerstones of attosecond science (an attosecond is a billionth of a...

Im Focus: Magnetic micro-boats

Nano- and microtechnology are promising candidates not only for medical applications such as drug delivery but also for the creation of little robots or flexible integrated sensors. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) have created magnetic microparticles, with a newly developed method, that could pave the way for building micro-motors or guiding drugs in the human body to a target, like a tumor. The preparation of such structures as well as their remote-control can be regulated using magnetic fields and therefore can find application in an array of domains.

The magnetic properties of a material control how this material responds to the presence of a magnetic field. Iron oxide is the main component of rust but also...

Im Focus: Self-healing coating made of corn starch makes small scratches disappear through heat

Due to the special arrangement of its molecules, a new coating made of corn starch is able to repair small scratches by itself through heat: The cross-linking via ring-shaped molecules makes the material mobile, so that it compensates for the scratches and these disappear again.

Superficial micro-scratches on the car body or on other high-gloss surfaces are harmless, but annoying. Especially in the luxury segment such surfaces are...

Im Focus: Stellar cartography

The Potsdam Echelle Polarimetric and Spectroscopic Instrument (PEPSI) at the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona released its first image of the surface magnetic field of another star. In a paper in the European journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, the PEPSI team presents a Zeeman- Doppler-Image of the surface of the magnetically active star II Pegasi.

A special technique allows astronomers to resolve the surfaces of faraway stars. Those are otherwise only seen as point sources, even in the largest telescopes...

Im Focus: Heading towards a tsunami of light

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have proposed a way to create a completely new source of radiation. Ultra-intense light pulses consist of the motion of a single wave and can be described as a tsunami of light. The strong wave can be used to study interactions between matter and light in a unique way. Their research is now published in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

"This source of radiation lets us look at reality through a new angle - it is like twisting a mirror and discovering something completely different," says...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

International Modelica Conference with 330 visitors from 21 countries at OTH Regensburg

11.03.2019 | Event News

Selection Completed: 580 Young Scientists from 88 Countries at the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

01.03.2019 | Event News

LightMAT 2019 – 3rd International Conference on Light Materials – Science and Technology

28.02.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Laser processing is a matter for the head – LZH at the Hannover Messe 2019

25.03.2019 | Trade Fair News

A Varied Menu

25.03.2019 | Life Sciences

‘Time Machine’ heralds new era

25.03.2019 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>