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Nappy Recycling Challenge Accepted!

Four companies have now been set the challenge of how they can recycle Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) for Wales.

Over the next six months these companies will develop their unique solutions to tackling around 41,000 tonnes of absorbent hygiene waste streams in a more suitable solution for Wales. This equates to a staggering 200 million nappies a year or around half a million per day.

Thanks to the ‘Dyfodol Gwyrdd Glân’ ‘Clean Green Future’ partnership, with support from the Welsh Governments Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) the businesses from around the world, have been granted £194,500 of funding to develop innovative ideas for nappy and absorbent products recycling.

The partnership, which was established on behalf of Welsh Local Authorities and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water in collaboration with the Welsh Government are pushing forwards to find innovative solutions for affordable and sustainable treatment and recycling solution for Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) waste and wastewater inlet screenings in Wales.

The four businesses who have taken up the challenge are;

  • Nappicycle of Wales
  • Elsinga of the Netherlands
  • Kelland Environmental Technologies of Australia
  • Medisort of England

The majority of Welsh Local Authorities have been collecting domestic AHP waste over the last few years. Whilst, Welsh Water have also been exploring opportunities to recycling this waste, so by coming together to solve the problem this project now aims to build a sustainable all-Wales treatment and recycling solution.

The projects overall aim is to develop a world leading recycling technology for absorbent hygiene and wastewater inlet waste that will be first used here in Wales.

Roger Waters, Senior Responsible Officer for the AHP ‘Dyfodol Gwyrdd Glân’ ‘Clean Green Future’ project, said:

“This innovative project, is working with and on behalf of all Welsh Local Authorities, Welsh Water and the Welsh Government to develop and deliver an affordable, sustainable treatment and recycling solution for absorbent hygiene product (AHP) waste in Wales.

“There have been a number of innovative advancements in the way AHP waste is managed in recent years, and the main aim of this project is to work with businesses to use and enhance these to turn AHP waste into a valuable resource. This can only be done by developing treatment and recycling solutions from what has previously been seen as a solid waste disposal issue.

“As a country, we are looking to reduce, re-use and recycle as much as we can in a bid to become a zero-waste nation operating in a circular economy. As a result, Local Authorities together with the Welsh Government and Welsh Water are seeking more affordable and sustainable solutions to waste management.”

Taliesin Maynard, Head of the Welsh Government Infrastructure Programme said:

“The Welsh Government is committed to supporting businesses to design and develop innovative solutions to global problems, which helps boost our economy and protect our society.

“It’s great to see the Dyfodol partnership working together to develop a Clean Green Future for Wales so that we can meet the Welsh Government’s target of becoming a zero-waste nation by 2050.

“The SBRI funding is an excellent opportunity to help businesses shape sustainable outcomes that match the needs of Wales. By investing in their ideas and supporting the development of new recycling technologies, Wales will continue to pave the way in delivering high quality recycling and supporting the green economy by creating new employment.”

Tony Harrington, Director of Environment at Welsh Water said:

“Welsh Water are excited to be part of this unique innovation challenge. It’s great to be working with the Welsh local authorities and the Welsh Government to seek out sustainable recycling technologies and other solutions for the plastics which enter our sewerage systems.  This recycling initiative, together hopefully with a ban on single use plastics which are sadly flushed, will benefit future generations and put Wales at the forefront of recycling these difficult materials.”

Wales is ranked first in the UK, second in Europe and third in the world for household waste recycling. Wales remains the only country in the world to enshrine a Well-Being of Future Generations Act in law, meaning all policy decisions made today must consider the impact on the generations of tomorrow.

Posted on 25/03/2022