A staggering 5,500 tonnes of recycling material was rejected in Leicestershire last year after dirty nappies were dumped in recycling bins.
Casepak, which processes the county’s recycling, finds up to 4,000 nappies a day in among the glass, plastic and cardboard they sort.
And workers often have to remove the soiled nappies by hand.
Now Leicestershire County Council has united with Keep Britain Tidy to back its #TedSays campaign to urge residents to recycle responsibly and to put nappies where they belong – in the general waste bin.
The campaign is being fronted by ‘Ted’ the teddy bear.
He’ll be appearing on billboards across the country and social media, warning that just one nappy can spoil a whole truckload of recycling.
“Research shows that there is genuine confusion about where nappies should be binned and Keep Britain Tidy is calling on nappy manufacturers to clearly label their products as non-recyclable,” said the county council.
Cllr Blake Pain, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “In the UK, 7 per cent of parents and carers who use disposable nappies, put them in their recycling – that’s over a million people.
“Putting nappies in recycling can result in loads being rejected at recycling sorting centres and this is costly and results in more waste going to landfill.”
He added: “We’re committed to doing our best to improve the environment and that’s why we are pleased to be backing Keep Britain Tidy and its #TedSays campaign.”
Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Leicestershire County Council to tackle this issue.
“Recycling contamination, including disposable nappies, costs local authorities hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and stops many tonnes of waste from being recycled.”