Blog: Applications for Recycled Nappies
From benches and bollards to
railways sleepers and flood defences, recycled nappies have a wide range of
applications that are both environmentally friendly and incredibly useful.
Knowaste, the UK's first nappy recycling company, is leading the way with its
The story so far
Knowaste has processed over 77
million nappies since it opened its recycling facility in West Bromwich in
2011, saving over 18,000 tonnes of nappy waste from being disposed of in
landfill or through incineration.
However, these figures are just
the start and Knowaste is projected to process nearly 13,000 tonnes,
approximately 56.4 million nappies in 2013/14, which is expected to double in
2014/15 to around 112.3 million nappies. Not only will this save harmful waste
from contaminating landfill sites and reduce emissions from incineration, but
the materials from recycled nappies can also be used to make a range of useful
products that may surprise you.
The recycling process
When a shipment of disposable
nappies is delivered to the processing facility, all incoming waste material is
sterilised and then undergoes a complex system of shredding, screening, washing
and drying to produce two raw materials; cellulose fibre and plastic.
These are then further refined to
ensure that all contaminants are removed from the recycled materials. The
refinement process enables up to 100% of the disposable nappy to be removed
from the waste stream, offering a 22,536 metric tonne reduction in greenhouse gases
A new lease of life
The refined cellulose fibre and
plastics from recycled nappies can be used to manufacture an incredible range
We are currently working with a
number of plastic manufacturers to produce items, such as timber decking and
fencing, benches, bollards, railway sleepers and flood defence systems. We are
also working with three of the largest wheelie bin manufacturers in Europe to
integrate the recycled plastics from nappies into waste containers. We take
great care to ensure that all recycled materials are managed in a closed loop
system, and the containers used by local authorities to collect used nappies
are made from Knowaste recycled plastics.
Successful trials have also been
completed at a paper mill to manufacture cardboard, which will be used to make
toilet role tubes and moulded fibre packaging for non-food products. However,
the cellulose fibres from recycled nappies have a vast range of uses that are only
beginning to be explored, including bricks, insulation, brake linings, tarmac,
pet litter, concrete and tile adhesive.
This is the beginning of an
exciting time for Knowaste and we are enthusiastic about all of these
applications and some new ones that we are still working on.
you want to see more nappy recycling? Do you have questions about the service
that we offer? Join the debate: @KnowNappyWaste