ARN Nappy Recyclers in the Netherlands are turning nappies into natural compost and flower pots, and want to see more plant based nappies coming through their system.
They have conducted extensive research at their recycling and composting plant and concluded that "processing biobased diapers within our reactor shows that environmental performance is enhanced and global warming impacts are reduced" in comparison to recycling standard plastic nappies.
After more than a year of processing on a large pilot scale, the research is drawing to a conclusion and will be looking to expand operations to a wider audience.
Their recycling/composting method heats used nappies with sewage sludge in very high temperatures of up to 250°C with steam. This removes pathogens and drugs and creates a hygienic, clean compost waste (natural fertiliser) and biogas. Any plastic components are separated and formed into pellets for further use as moulded plastic item, such as car parts or flower pots!
The lower the percentage of plastic components used in the nappy design, the higher the degree of full circularity achieved.
SGS International, a global certified independent test house, concluded that "Compared to the original scenario (standard plastic PP/PE diapers), waste treatment of diapers made with plant based cellulose, viscose and poly lactic acid (PLA) leads to a significantly larger avoidance of environmental impact."
This plant based design and recycling/compost method provides benefits for all three environmental damage categories:
- a. human health
- b. ecosystems (living communities of organisms)
- c. raw materials
As part of our joint research with UCL (University College London) and the Comfort Loop programme, Mama Bamboo will be taking these conclusions into the next stage of our circular economy redesign. We are working alongside some of the bigger leading brands of standard diapers and wipes. Hopefully this crystal clear conclusive evidence will persuade all parties to switch to plant based, less environmentally harmful materials in future.
Learn More here - https://vimeo.com/687102814