Nappy recycler Knowaste has opened Britain’s first absorbent hygiene product (AHP) recycling plant.
The facility, in West Bromwich, recovers plastic and fibre from nappies, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products to make products such as roof tiles.
It is the first of five facilities Knowaste plans to open over the next four years at a cost of £25m. They each process 36,000 tonnes of waste a year and, with proposals for plants in Scotland, west England and London, they will cover the UK.
The process of recycling AHPs begins with sterilising the waste and then separating the materials to recover the plastic and fibre.
Knowaste chief executive Roy Brown said: “In the UK, more than one million tonnes of AHP waste are generated annually, much of which is landfilled and a significant proportion of which is produced by the commercial sector. We are proud to be working with some of the Midland’s and nation’s leading AHP collection companies already. They are embracing this opportunity.”
The West Bromwich facility will receive AHPs from local, regional and national waste operators including large operators in the sector such as ICS/Cannon Hygiene, PHS All Clear and Initial Rentokil. Waste from these collections comes from washrooms, hospitals, nursing facilities and childcare nurseries.
Currently, Knowaste is in discussions with local authorities to see how it can treat domestic waste, in turn, helping local authorities to achieve higher recycling rates.
Zero Waste Scotland director Ian Gulland said: “Achieving Scotland’s ambitious zero waste targets will require fresh thinking to recover the maximum value from all our resources.
“We are working to support Scottish councils who are looking at this new waste stream.”