A nappy recycling firm is looking to locate a new plant between Oxford, Reading, North London and Luton.
Canadian company Knowaste said the key factor is proximity to existing energy-from-waste, biomass, anerobic digestion and water treatment facilities.
The company estimates that one million tonnes of absorbent hygiene products (AHP) waste is generated in the UK every year.
Knowaste has recycled more than 77 million nappies since it opened its first plant in the West Midlands in 2011, but it closed this plant last year because it said it had ‘outgrown’ the site.
Their new facility will handle 36,000 tonnes of waste per annum. The process is more environmentally friendly and cost effective than sending such waste landfill, incineration or small-scale composting, according to the company.
The site will include updated recycling technologies:
- more efficient processes for sterilisation, screening and materials separation
- updated washing, separation and drying processes
- A plastic pelletiser enabling Knowaste to access the markets that it has identified for recycled outputs.
The Knowaste process separates plastics and fibres from AHP products to recycle 100% of the nappy to create products made from plastics:
- plastic timber
- flood defence systems
- waste containers
And other products from fibre:
- tarmac & concrete additives
- Moulded packaging
After the south east site, the company has a strategy to develop a number of sites across the UK.
Knowaste claims that a growing number of local authorities and hygiene companies are now separating AHP as disposal costs continue to rise.
Paul Richardson, business development director at Knowaste, said: “The location of the new facility is critical. We want to find an optimal site close to sources of sustainable heat, power and water that is also optimally located for us to meet the demands of local authorities and hygiene companies.”
At the opening of the UK’s first solid recovered fuel (SRF) plant in Swindon yesterday, Ian Smith, operations director of independent consultants PPS Recovery Systems, told MRW: “You wouldn’t believe the number of disposable nappies coming through the system. There’s a constant stream of them coming through the municipal waste feedstock.”