Absorbent Hygiene Products demonstrate impressive advances in Sustainability


Source: EDANA

The second ‘Sustainability Report: Absorbent Hygiene Products’ released by EDANA, the Brussels-based international association representing the interests of nonwovens and related industries, shows that the overall environmental impact of absorbent hygiene products is small and is decreasing as a result of the actions of the industry. 

For example:

  • less than 0.5 percent of all solid waste and around 2 percent of municipal solid waste (MSW) comes from absorbent hygiene products compared with paper and board, garden waste and food waste which each comprise between 18 and 20 percent of MSW;
  • the average weight of a baby diaper has been reduced by over 40 percent since 1987;
  • the global warming and summer smog impacts of diapers have been reduced by 37 and 43 percent respectively over the same time period.

Absorbent Hygiene Products i.e., disposable diapers, incontinence care and female sanitary products (sanitary pads, pantyliners and tampons), being single-use products, are often unfairly criticised for their impact on the environment, despite ongoing measurable environmental progress. However assessments, undertaken by both industry and independent authorities, show that disposable diapers have no greater impact on the environment than cloth ones. The most recent and comprehensive analysis was undertaken by the UK Environment Agency in 2005, which confirmed that there is ‘little or no difference between the environmental impact of re-usable and disposable nappies’.

Absorbent hygiene products are an important and essential feature of modern day life in Europe.  Through innovation and state-of-the-art technology the industry is responding to the public’s need for safe and high performance products which contribute to improved quality of life; while at the same time reducing the environmental impacts of its products and processes and contributing positively to the economy of the European region. The industry believes it demonstrates a good track record in sustainability performance to date. It also knows there is more to do; and is committed to continual improvement.

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