First nappy recycling plant to open
The UK's first ever plant for recycling nappies is due to open.
The facility, which will also recycle feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products, is the first of five planned over four years by Knowaste, an organisation which specialises in absorbent hygiene product (AHP) waste recycling.
Knowaste said the first site in West Bromwich will use state-of-the-art technology to recycle AHPs, sterilising and separating the materials to recover plastic and fibre that can then be used for making new products, such as roof tiles or plastic components and fibre based construction and commercial tubes.
Roy Brown, chief executive officer of Knowaste, said: "This first site in West Bromwich represents the beginning of a £25 million overall investment in the UK, that will produce capacity for handling about a fifth of the AHP waste stream - equating to a saving of 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year.
"In the UK, more than one million tonnes of AHP waste is generated annually, much of which is landfilled. A significant proportion of which is produced by the commercial sector and we are proud to be working with some of the Midland's and nation's leading AHP collection companies already."
Mr Brown said Knowaste was also working with local authorities and their waste contractors to recycle domestic AHP waste in the future at the Midlands plant and those intended for Scotland, the West and London.
The AHPs for the West Midlands facility are being delivered to the site for processing by local, regional and national commercial waste operators, including OCS/Cannon Hygiene, PHS All Clear and Initial Rentokil.
These operators collect this waste from washrooms, hospitals, nursing facilities and child care nurseries.
A spokeswoman for Knowaste said an assessment carried out in December 2010 comparing the environmental performance of Knowaste's recycling process with the existing UK disposal methods for AHPs, namely landfill and incineration, revealed significant findings.
She said: "The main findings showed that compared to these two options, the Knowaste recycling process emits up to 71% less carbon emissions and that the West Bromwich site would save 22,536 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year."