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 Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School

nachricht Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier

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: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Epoxy compound gets a graphene bump

14.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

Microgel powder fights infection and helps wounds heal

14.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

14.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>