When plastic backing cannot be phased-out, it is hidden

jellyjigger

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When researching the official reasoning given by corporations as to why plastic-backed products have been phased out over the years, one of the reasons people rarely talk about got me thinking after I read about it a few days ago. Besides the mainstream majority of people with incontinence might be put off by the crinkle of plastic backing, we've also heard these other official excuses:

1> plastic is bad because it doesn't breathe - has it ever been studied that bed-sores for example occur less with cloth-like products?
2> plastic is bad because it may contain lead - do cloth-like products actually contain different, less harmful checmicals?
3> plastic backing is bad for the environment/carbon emissions - does cloth-like compost better / have a lower carbon impact?

Someone mentioned in 2017 at https://www.adisc.org/forum/threads/plastic-backed-abena-m4.112529/ that in the UK, the NHS had passed a law that *covered* diapers had to be breathable. Somewhere else I also read that the UK had passed "green" laws that imply some politician must have made the case that plastic-backing is bad for the environment but cloth-like is better, possibly in some way. As someone in the US, I don't know about these laws. Can someone from the UK shed any light on the science (or pseudo-science) behind this?

What if there are similar forces at work at other giant adult diaper manufacturing companies? What if those corporate "officials" making bold decisions (such as to eliminate plastic-backing in all of their products for example) do so not for the consumer, but to appeal to regulatory agents and government officials as a result of these laws? As for the public, we only get the standard one-liners: "cloth-like is better for your skin", and the list goes on. All of this makes the company appear to be "ahead of the curve", progressive and environmentally friendly. As a result those officials make huge bonuses and they move up the chain while cheapening the product each time they re-design it. If you assume for the moment that the "environmental friendliess" perception of the product is the single most important reason for getting rid of plastic-backing (besides public perception of cloth-like backing feeling more like real underwear), this could explain another phenomena I've noticed throughout the decades.

Take Abena for example. Sofar, they tried at least twice (possibly 3 times) in the past 10 years to completely discontinue plastic-backing from their products. They will likely keep trying too, unfortunately, but WHY? Obviously the demand must have been too high, and/or if they made people consume their cloth-backed products by force, those customers would revolt and at the very minimum switch to someone else's cloth-backed products. This also leads me to believe they aren't even making small batches of the M4's, L4s. I speculate these are regularly produced items in production plants.

So the phenomena is that the plastic-backed products are not listed on their website, giving the appearance that they successfully DISCONTINUED them. If you weren't a regular adisc reader, you might guess, that the plastic-backing with Abena is no more. I've seen this pattern for other companies websites too, where it appears the only thing they make are female and male pull-ups. The Depend website for example has gone back and forth removing the max-protection briefs entirely and then it reappears years later despite they have yet to ever stop producing it and it had nothing to do with the public outcry when they silently turned them cloth-like, for a short period of time.

So whether this practice is right or wrong, do you think the goal of these companies is to pretend to be environmentally friendly, and as such, hide the fact that they secretly manufacture plastic-backed products to niche industries and institutions?
 
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PCBaby

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Well argued. However plastic or cloth backed disposable have less of a carbon foot print over pure cloth. Cloth and plastic backed can now be recycled meaning less land fill and plastic/cloth that can be used for other purposes.
Plastic doesn't allow your skin to breath properly, but no nappy does including pure terry as you need waterproof pants with them (more plastic). There are now both scientific and medical concerns about SAP but so far the studies only include real babies. The NHS cannot pass laws, only our goverment can do that, and most NHS supplied nappies are plastic backed.
 

ade

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So whether this practice is right or wrong, do you think the goal of these companies is to pretend to be environmentally friendly, and as such, hide the fact that they secretly manufacture plastic-backed products to niche industries and institutions?
Yep; and the fact the 'cloth-like' stuff is plastic makes me think that the change may be about the manufacturing process and a move to heat sealing/welding the component parts of the pad together, rather than the use of resins and glues (they were one of the weakest parts of the products from the outset).

Makes perfect sense if you consider products like wundaweb and fabric stiffener.
 
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W3NTBOTHWAY5

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Plastic backed Abenas have disappeared from Europe, it is not entirely a bad thing as Nappies R Us have bought the patent and their non-ABDL line Drylife is near-identical.
I'll say it as well - recycling being what it is now (that) no company should be ashamed of producing a PB nappy and both the medical and non-medical sides of the adult nappy industry have released 'new' nappies recently: Forsites are an arrival of only the last four/three years and Rearz are releasing the Llama this year (there you go).
Lastly an NHS ruling on nappy type does sound un-true, not only that but most likely on the grounds of easyness of 'access' the most used continence product in hospitals are large fasten-free inserts held in place by pants, presumably as you can - let's be honest - cock up a taping job even if you're not a novice and then that's a wasted product
...that last assumption is just that, it has quite a bit of theory to it!!
 

Marcella

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Greenwashing in a corporate world is very much a thing I agree but plastic is plastic and is therefore the result of fossil fuel refinement. Something even a cynic like me will confess is best avoided where practical.

Now if someone would produce nappies with a hemp derived plastic equivalent...prolly just a matter of time tbh x
 

Paxe

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Plastic backings for nappies are mainly polyethylene film and it's easy to work out how much material each contains. 'Cloth style' backings can contain various amounts of different plastics, and could potentially contain more plastic per square inch than traditional plastic backings without this being obvious to the user. How difficult each is to recycle might depend on how easy the components are to separate. So before considering any environmental merits of one or the other, I think reliable information about their composition is needed.
 

PCBaby

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Lastly an NHS ruling on nappy type does sound un-true, not only that but most likely on the grounds of easyness of 'access' the most used continence product in hospitals are large fasten-free inserts held in place by pants, presumably as you can - let's be honest - cock up a taping job even if you're not a novice and then that's a wasted product
...that last assumption is just that, it has quite a bit of theory to it!!

The NHS tend to use the insert type pads only if that is what the patient is used to and is mobile enough to change them, otherwise it's a full nappy. usually ID slips.
 

PCBaby

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Plastic backings for nappies are mainly polyethylene film and it's easy to work out how much material each contains. 'Cloth style' backings can contain various amounts of different plastics, and could potentially contain more plastic per square inch than traditional plastic backings without this being obvious to the user. How difficult each is to recycle might depend on how easy the components are to separate. So before considering any environmental merits of one or the other, I think reliable information about their composition is needed.

My fiancee lives in a different council area to me, they supply puprple bags for baby and adult IC waste and sanitary products. they haave a specialist recycle plant and despite the contstruction they manage something like a 92% recycle rate, including some of the SAP.
 

Seabear

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Surely they can make plastic nappies from biodegradable plastic like they make the carrier bags from. They burn the waste where I live and it generates electricity all them nappies are powering peoples homes
 

ARBBB2

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My fiancee lives in a different council area to me, they supply puprple bags for baby and adult IC waste and sanitary products. they haave a specialist recycle plant and despite the contstruction they manage something like a 92% recycle rate, including some of the SAP.
Question, how do you get pee smell out of plastic pants, used to always throw them in the washing machine, but the 3 new ones I have been hand washing with hand soap and hot water hand drying them and let them final air dry, this morning yesterdays p.p. still smelled pretty bad?
 

PCBaby

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It's unusually for waterproof pants to hold any smells once they have been washed, I've got a few pairs that are still servicable and odour free after nearly 17 years! What are you using as a detergent? Have you tried a, using a washing machine cleaner to clean out and steriles your machine or b, some of the new pellets that you can get to make your washing smell nice!.

Finally, are they just plain waterproof pants, ie no lace or ribbons etc on them?
 

ARBBB2

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no regular plastic pants,' just hand washed again with hand soap, will see later when they are dry
 

ej24

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Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this but, All cloth like disposable diapers are just covered in cloth like material. They still have a plastic backsheet. It's just covered by a non-woven synthetic fiber. You can peel the cloth backing off most diapers to expose a thinner plastic layer underneath. They wouldn't be waterproof otherwise. It'd be like wearing a paper towel. The side wings may be more breathable, but the absorbant body isn't at all. Cloth like disposables in my experience also leak more and don't last as long thus you go through more of them.

Now if actual cloth diapers are proposed as a replacement then that's different.
 

PCBaby

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Perhaps I'm misinterpreting this but, All cloth like disposable diapers are just covered in cloth like material. They still have a plastic backsheet. It's just covered by a non-woven synthetic fiber. You can peel the cloth backing off most diapers to expose a thinner plastic layer underneath. They wouldn't be waterproof otherwise. It'd be like wearing a paper towel. The side wings may be more breathable, but the absorbant body isn't at all. Cloth like disposables in my experience also leak more and don't last as long thus you go through more of them.

Now if actual cloth diapers are proposed as a replacement then that's different.

Actual cloth nappies have a slightly higher carbon footprint then disposables, add to that the cost of washing and drying them, as well as the waterproof pants you also need, now menas that disposables are better for the environment, especially if they can be used to provide heat or recycled and used in other items. Most actual cloth nappies at the end of their life are normally only good as boosters, rags or for recycling into papaer.
 

ade

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Surely they can make plastic nappies from biodegradable plastic like they make the carrier bags from.
They do (see the link in my previous for the materials and their pros and cons).
Oil derived plastics are more plentiful and cheaper because such plastics are effectively subsidized by everybody who drives a car.
 

quartz200420012

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Remember all the plastic and vinyl stuff geared towards babies that was phased out by 08’? In the mid 90s there were studies going on about phthalates, endocrine disrupters and of course BPA.

What else changed??? Plastic backed baby diapers started to be phased out....because for young developing kids....those chemical have long term degenerative effects. For adults it’s not that big of an issue.

It wasn’t “parents want cloth backed products”.......it was KC and P&G getting out in front of a growing problem.
 

PCBaby

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What else changed??? Plastic backed baby diapers started to be phased out....because for young developing kids....those chemical have long term degenerative effects. For adults it’s not that big of an issue.

Actually for those of us who have to wear 24/7 it can be a long term problem. A child use nappies possibly as alte as 5 years old and then possibly a few years of bed time nappies. I have been wearing either terry or disposables on and off all my life, and disposables 24/7 for the last 30+ years.
 
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