EU Ecolabel for AHP’s (absorbent hygiene products)
EDANA and many of its members (producers and key suppliers throughout the value chain) were actively involved in the stakeholder consultation and subsequent discussions for the development of criteria for this new EU Ecolabel. These criteria are valid until 2022 and will be subject to a revision in 2021. While the EU Ecolabel is voluntary, these criteria have a potentially significant impact as they are often taken as a reference by retailers and public procurers, who tend to favour products that carry the label or demand that products comply with the EU Ecolabel requirements. Several baby diapers proudly carry the EU Ecolabel, demonstrating their environmental progress.
Multi-stakeholder cooperation with OVAM (Public Waste Agency of Flanders)
In Flanders (Belgium), an ambitious waste management plan 2016-2022 has been agreed upon. This plan aims at reducing the residual fraction of household waste. As part of this effort, a collective disposable diaper plan is in development with all actors of the supply chain. This aims, among other things, to deal with; raising awareness, waste management, eco-design and reuse.
In 2017 EDANA, together with COMEOS, Go4Circle, Centexbel and OVAM signed a commitment to work together on a collective plan for disposable diapers. This plan applies for a period of 5 years. The cooperation between all partners in the chain, aimed at closing the disposable diapers materials cycle.
EDANA’s Platform for best practices
Our members have access to a platform where they communicate their efforts on sustainability and share best practices. By sharing, for example, new weight reduction methods or increased performance processes our members actively share useful information. Waste is a global challenge and has become a big focus area for our members in recent years. The participation in this platform facilitated dialogue and increased effective waste management practices. EDANA witnesses continuous efforts to reduce production waste and post-consumer waste through the reduction of weight to the products, while maintaining or increasing their performance. Weight reduction has its limits, however, and EDANA, together with its members, explores other possibilities such as the use of alternative biodegradable raw materials, compostable materials and increased recycling.
Diaper Cycle Project (2016, The Netherlands)
EDANA participated as a stakeholder in the Diaper Cycle Project. It is part of our larger long-term project with NVRD (royal association for waste- and purification management). More than 50 participants were invited to join this Dutch initiative. The aim was to jointly build a vision and formulate objectives for the entire supply chain of diapers. A brief set of guidelines range from clever product design through better separation and collection. Through this type of initiatives, EDANA shares its expertise for a more sustainable supply chain and simultaneously enriches itself with new visions and practices for its members regarding sustainability.
The Aller River Pilot Project (South Africa)
EDANA meets the expectations of The South African Department of Environmental Affairs through collaboration with Kloof Conservancy (NPO), eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) and eThekwini Municipality Education Departments of Durban Solid Waste (DSW) in The Aller River Pilot Project. This project aims to protect biodiversity and empower communities to ensure a better future and preserve rivers. The targeted challenges are sewage overflows, litter, chemical pollution and invasive alien plants.
With a sub-project focused on mitigating littering of diapers in informal settlements, Kloof Conservancy was successful in simultaneously tackling the issue through different angles. On the one hand, Kloof Conservancy (NPO) stimulated an effective cooperation between eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) and officials from Durban Solid Waste (DSW). Wheelie-bins were placed at strategic points at Community Ablution Blocks, where the Caretakers collected and carried the disposable diapers to approved DSW Collection points for onward disposal to landfill. On the other hand, consumers are informed on the environmental impacts of incorrect disposal and on how to correctly dispose of diapers and other consumables. Thanks to this project, more than 3.5 tons of diapers, which would have otherwise most likely been dumped in the local river, were successfully collected and processed. This work deserves to be further supported and implemented in other regions!
FIHA project in India
The Feminine and Infant Hygiene Association of India (FIHA), locally representing converters of sanitary products now runsan awareness campaign to improve the disposal of sanitary waste. FIHA has identified cities across India where an awareness campaign will be piloted to study the impact of segregating sanitary waste from household waste. In order to capture the consumer behaviour, first a baseline survey was conducted whereby numerous households, rag-pickers, garbage collecting organizations and NGOs were questioned and surveyed. FIHA will also facilitate focus group discussions in order to identify existing waste management practices, challenges faced by waste collectors, and identify solutions to challenges faced by the waste collectors. Subsequent to the baseline survey FIHA will undertake the awareness campaign to inculcate the right behaviours for usage and disposal of sanitary products. This will include using various channels ranging from door to door campaigns, posters, market kiosks, advertisements etc. This campaign will also help promote the solution for segregation of sanitary waste i.e. distribution of a large red dot sticker that should be stuck to the used and wrapped up sanitary napkin and diaper. This is crucial for rag pickers to easily identify sanitary waste.