Correction to Parliamentary Question: Nappy Disposal

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written statement – made on 16th April 2013.

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Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

My written answer of 1 February 2013 to question 134856 from my hon. Friend John Glen, Hansard, column 988W, seeking estimates on nappy recycling at Knowaste, contained information that was incorrect on both the number of used nappies previously sent for recycling at that facility, and the number estimated to be sent in the future. It also therefore incorrectly reported the percentage of nappies processed at the Knowaste facility as a proportion of the overall number of nappies thrown away in the UK. The answer was based on information which was available to the Department at the time.

Information recently provided to DEFRA by Knowaste indicates that 5,920 tonnes of nappies were treated at Knowaste between 11 September 2011 and 31 March 2012. The estimated projected throughput of nappies between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 and 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014 is 13,000 tonnes and 26,000 tonnes respectively. These figures were correctly reported in the original answer to the question.

The error was due to the figures being calculated using an incorrect estimate of the average weight per used nappy. Therefore, based on the correct estimated average weight of 230 grams per used nappy, the average number of nappies processed at Knowaste was 25.7 million between 11 September 2011 and 31 March 2012. Using this same estimated weight, the estimated average number of nappies that will be processed by Knowaste between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 is 56.4 million, and between 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, 113 million.

Based on the Nappy Alliance’s 2008 estimate that around 3 billion nappies are disposed of annually, Knowaste processed an estimated 0.85% of the UK market between 11 September 2011 and 31 March 2012. The estimated percentage of the UK market that will be processed by Knowaste between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013, and 1 April 2013 and 31 March 2014, is 1.88% and 3.74% respectively.