Part of Nice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 22nd May 2007.

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Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health) (Care Services) 2:30 pm, 22nd May 2007

We have to be careful not to encourage too much of a nappy state. We give first-time mothers a pregnancy book and a birth to five book, both of which discuss in some detail the case for and against each kind of nappy. It has to be said that a report by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found that, in the end, in terms of overall environmental consequences, there was very little difference between disposable and reusable nappies. I understand that the Minister of State, Department of Health, my hon. Friend Andy Burnham, is happy to host a meeting with the Nappy Alliance to discuss the matter further.


Abigail Gilby
Posted on 23 May 2007 7:57 pm (Report this annotation)

Yes, but that LCA was flawed.

Firstly the representative samples used were inordinately bias towards disposable users, with over 2,000 parents using disposable nappies surveyed, but as few as 2 people using cloth nappies were used for certain key assumptions. Also, the report did not accurately indicate how reusable nappies are used. Most parents own no more than 24 nappies and wash at 60oC. Not only that, but the report did not consider that many people nappies are used on more than one baby. For further critique of the report, see

It is important that the government recognise that disposable nappies use more resources and create far more waste than cloth nappies, even when washing is taken into account. It takes water to turn wood into paper pulp, and crude oil into plastic for every disposable made.