International waste and recycling company Renewi plc (LSE: RWI) and hygiene and health company firm Essity are teaming up to develop a new solution to recycle waste baby nappies and incontinence materials from the care sector and municipalities in the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands 400,000 tonnes of this material, between 5% to 8% of residual waste, is currently sent to incineration at waste to energy facilities each year.
According to Renewi, recycling of these nappies and incontinence materials would make a significant contribution to the ambitious goals of the Dutch government which aims to increase recycling rates for household waste to 75% in 2020 and for a full circular economy without any waste by 2050.
Renewi has been working on a method to process and recycle incontinence materials over the last few years with a focus to recover the valuable raw materials.
One of the main components is a high quality cellulose fibre. Renewi will reuse the cellulose recovered in the recycling process as a secondary raw material for the chemical industry, where cellulose is widely used.
In this new partnership, Renewi is working with one of the largest producers of nappies and incontinence products, Essity, which produces well-known branded products such as TENA and Libero.
Essity will provide knowledge about these products and their specific markets. Renewi will be responsible for the source segregation and collection of these materials from the customer base and the further development of a recycling solution that will enable the recovery of the cellulose. The focus of this new partnership is to maximise recycling and close the materials value chain.
“We are always looking for new, innovative ways to process waste streams into valuable raw materials. The amount of nappies currently sent to incineration is not sustainable, we look forward to working with Essity to recycle more of these materials and achieve our ‘waste no more’ vision,” explained Eric Segers, Director Specialties in Renewi’s Netherlands Commercial Division.
Wilma Venes, Public & Regulatory affairs manager at Essity added: "Essity has been involved in the government’s nappies project since its started at the end of 2014. We are also member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 network which helps companies to develop circular solutions. As a member of CE100, Essity generates new insights and ideas, which we convert into innovations and concrete solutions, of which this project is a good example."
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