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Green light for UK's first nappy recycling facility

Birmingham City Council has granted planning permission to build the UKs first nappy recycling plant in the city.

The £20 million facility will be built by recycling company Knowaste and built in Tyseley, Birmingham. Once up and running the facility can recycle 36,000 tonnes of the citys nappies and absorbent hygiene products including bedliners, and incontinence products.

The recycling facility uses a gasification process to shred the material and separate the plastics from the nappy. The slurry that is left is used to create energy to power the plant.

Every nappy is sanitised. The plastic recyclates from the facility can be recreated into a variety of products including plastic cladding or roof tiles.

Knowaste chief executive Roy Brown said: Disposable nappies have been described as the convenience curse of the 21st century. Until now, they have been one of the few remaining household items that go straight to landfills, or incinerators.  In the UK we produce 750,000 tonnes of nappy waste each year, enough to fill Wembley Stadium hundreds of times over.

There is therefore a clear and pressing need for a cost effective and environmentally friendly solution to the UK and global challenge of dealing with nappy and adult incontinence product waste. Our pioneering recycling solution can help reduce the waste that goes to landfill by at least 4%.

Brown hopes to open plants in other locations in the UK in the future and aims to recycle 13% of all of the UKs nappy waste.

London Waste and Recycling Board adviser Peter Jones said that this new technology represents a new dawn for the UK and the way we tackle our rubbish.

He added: This technology is also an exemplar for the NHS in terms of hospital and domiciliary incontinence products as it can also make a significant contribution to the Governments Green Procurement objectives.

The facility will be built by the end of the year.

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