Victorian parents lead the nappy pack

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Friday 22 May 2015




Victorian mums and dads are the country’s cleanest when it comes to disposing of dirty nappies, according to new research by Keep Australia Beautiful.

KAB’s National Litter Index interim report revealed disposable nappies accounted for less than five per cent of 25 litres per 1000m2 of miscellaneous rubbish across Victoria.

KAB Chief Executive Officer Peter McLean said this was significantly lower than the national average.

“The report found dirty nappies accounted for 20 per cent of 152 litres/1000m2 of miscellaneous litter dumped across Australia,’’ Mr McLean said.

“Victorian parents are showing the rest of the country that when each of us do the right thing with litter, it makes a real difference.’’

The interim report surveyed litter in public places in November 2014 including beaches, car parks, highways, industrial and retail spaces, recreational parks and residential areas.

Highways were the only sites in Victoria where disposable nappies were dumped, accounting for 1.1 of the 25 litres/1000m2 of miscellaneous litter which also included construction materials, tyres, clothing, condoms and more.

“While Victorian parents have a much better result than mums and dads in other parts of the country, such as Northern Territory where more than 30 per cent of 10 litres/1000m2 of miscellaneous litter was disposable nappies dumped along highways, this is still a shocking example to be setting children,’’ Mr McLean said.

“Presumably, soiled nappies are thrown out of cars because, like cigarette butts, they smell but parents need to remember it’s unhygienic and bad for the environment to leave dirty nappies lying around to rot.

“Some disposable nappies take up to 500 years to biodegrade.’’

The interim report found dirty nappies were the third biggest problem after construction materials and tyres.

Mr McLean said while the number of dumped nappies was not as large as other litter such as cigarette butts and fast food packaging, the issue was a sizeable one.

“Disposable nappies are now so absorbent that even small varieties swell to become relatively large and heavy,’’ he said.

“They take up more room in landfill which is why they are rapidly becoming an emerging litter trend when it comes to volume of waste.”

Mr McLean called on Victorian parents to keep doing the right thing.

“While the rest of the country has some work to do when it comes to disposing properly of their children’s nappies, Victorian mums and dads are a great example of how doing something small like storing a soiled nappy in a spare plastic bag until you find a bin, can have a big impact on a state and national scale,’’ he said.


  • Australians use around 5.6 million disposable nappies per day.
  • Two billion disposable nappies go into landfill per year in Australia.
  • Scientists estimate disposable nappies can take up to 500 years to decompose.
  • In Australia, 95% of parents use disposable nappies[ii]

Media contact: Asaesja Young – Sequel PR 3251 8133 or 0439 483 858.

About Keep Australia Beautiful: Keep Australia Beautiful is the national peak body on litter prevention. With more than four decades of experience in engaging Australians to care for their local environments, (not to be confused with Clean Up Australia Day) KAB Programs include Sustainable Cities, Tidy Towns, Clean Beaches, National Litter Index, Eco-Schools, Adopt a Patch, and Keep Australia Beautiful Week in August.

The KAB National website is where all information on the organisation can be accessed including the National Litter Index, which is Australia’s only independent nation-wide litter research.



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