ASA investigates UK nappy giants

An activist group has lodged a complaint with the ASA against Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark. The group is angered by a leaflet that claims there is no environmental benefit in using washable instead of disposable nappies.

An activist group has lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) against Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Kimberly-Clark. The group is angered by a leaflet that claims there is no environmental benefit in using washable instead of disposable nappies.

The Women’s Environmental Network (WEN) complaint has been triggered by the leaflet, entitled Nappy Information Service (NIS), which was aimed at young parents. It says: “Neither disposable nor reusable nappies can claim environmental superiority, both have an impact. Used disposable nappies along with most other household waste, are largely disposed in landfill sites, whereas washable nappies consume considerable quantities of electricity, water, detergents and sanitising chemicals.”

The NIS leaflet, backed by the Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association (AHPMA), has been distributed to health professionals, doctors’ surgeries and local authorities.

The AHPMA is a trade body representing major UK nappy manufacturers. It comprises P&G, Kimberly-Clark and SCA Hygiene, which manufactures own-label brands.

WEN wants the leaflet withdrawn and has asked the ASA to ban the AHPMA and its members from making such claims. The ASA is investigating the complaint.

WEN’s Real Nappy Project officer, Maeve Murphy, says: “Parents should not be fooled [by NIS]. Disposable nappies use more resources and create far more waste than cloth nappies, even when washing is taken into account.”

WEN is a national organisation campaigning on environmental and health issues from a female perspective.

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