The EU absorbent hygiene products category consumed about 1.7 million tonnes of material and was worth €11bn in 2011. 90% of products were produced and consumed in the EU27 and baby diapers were the biggest product. The EC aim was to identify “hot-spots” in the diaper LCA and hence options for reducing their impact. So far it appeared that the raw materials used for diapers were the main impact contributors but end-of-life impacts were important also, with weight reduction and diversion from landfill being key improvements to be sought. Controlled materials such as adhesives, dyes/inks and fragrances are under investigation.
Longer term, the EC would commit to impact improvement targets (reduction by X% in Y years) and setting thresholds defining the maximum allowed impact of a product.