Diaper Recycling Plant Opens

The UK’s first facility for recycling disposable nappies (diapers), adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products has opened.
Knowaste’s recycling plant at West Bromwich will divert absorbent waste from landfill and incineration. It is the first of five plants to be constructed over the next few years.
Knowaste says their process sterilizes the material and separates the reclaimable materials – wood pulp and polymers.
The reclaimed materials can then be used to make plastic wood and roofing tiles, absorption materials, recycled paper products and fuel for electricity generation. 
The recycling process appears to be quite water intensive, but water is recaptured from each wash cycle and treated, then reused in the system.
According to Knowaste, the average baby will go through around 6,000 disposable nappies by the time he or she is potty trained. Around 3 billion disposable nappies are used every year – just in the UK – which generates around a half million tonnes of waste. Female sanitary protection products generate over 200,000 tonnes of waste in the UK per year.
These Absorbent Hygeine Products (AHP’s) can take centuries to break down in landfill, creating methane and carbon dioxide as they do; both of which are greenhouse gases.
The West Bromwich facility will be able to reclaim around 98% of the nappy waste it receives – pretty impressive stuff. When the company has all its facilities up and running, it says it will be able to deal with 20% of the UK’s AHP waste.
It seems 83% of UK folks would support a fortnightly diaper collection if they knew the nappies would not be taken to landfill. Knowaste suggests those interested in such a collection should speak speak to their local council about getting this sort of service happening; and is also encouraging nursing homes, hospitals and other organisations generating a large amount of AHP waste to contact the company. 
The company generates revenue through charging for the processing of the waste, on-selling of recycled products and electricity generation.
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