Not such a potty idea after all, as nappies to be recycled

WHERE there’s muck, there’s brass. A new company is set to benefit from the Scottish Government’s innovative recycling scheme that will see used nappies turned into an assortment of unlikely items including garden furniture, park benches and roof tiles.

• Nappies could be recycled into garden furniture or roof tiles

• Scheme to be promoted to over 35,000 homes in Fife, Stirling, Perth and Kinross and North Lanarkshire

• Around 45,000 nappies sent to dumps every day in Scotland

Pilot scheme is aimed at making recycling easier

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While every new parent may wish for Junior’s soiled nappies to disappear as soon as possible, it took a company called Knowaste, based in West Bromwich, to figure out how to turn what was previously dumped in landfill into saleable goods. Now, a pilot scheme will see parents in 36,000 homes in North Lanarkshire, Fife, Stirling, and Perth and Kinross offered the chance to recycle their children’s disposable nappies into products such as cardboard, fencing and bollards.

The government said the scheme, funded by quango Zero Waste Scotland, will make it easier for parents in the pilot areas to “do their bit for the environment” by recycling some of the 450,000 nappies currently dumped every day in Scotland.

The used nappies will be bagged, loaded on lorries and shipped to Knowaste’s plant in West Bromwich. The nappies are then placed into an autoclave, a steam-heated pressurised vessel, for cleaning. After being cleaned, the nappies are broken down into two products: plastic and fibre, which is processed and sold to manufacturers for use in other goods.

Roy Brown, chief executive of Knowaste, which opened last year and aims to process 36,000 tons annually, said: “Our specialist recycling facility is the first of its kind in the UK. We use new technology to allow us to turn absorbent hygiene products, previously unsuitable for recycling, into valuable plastics and fibres, which can then be used to make new products. We are delighted to support the trial collection services in Scotland, which we hope will lead to a wider adoption of the recycling service.”

If the trial succeeds, the scheme could be rolled out across the country. Iain Gulland, from Zero Waste Scotland, said such pilots allowed it to evaluate which forms of recycling people preferred. He added: “Turning nappies and other absorbent hygiene products into products like decking and benches might sound surprising, but putting them to good use is far better than sending them to landfill. I would urge those living in the pilot areas to take up the scheme.”

Environment minister Richard Lochhead said: “Disposable nappies, although convenient, do have a huge impact on the environment with 450,000 ending up in landfill each day in Scotland. In this way, we can reuse our waste and treat it as a valuable resource with the potential to boost our economy.”

Sheila Sangster, a childminder based in Stirling, said: “Although recycling at home has got a lot easier over recent years, nappies are something that I’ve always just put in the bin. I wish this service had been available 30 years ago when I first started childminding.”