Revolutionary Nappy Recycling Initiative Launches In England For First Time

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Today, North-west based eco-friendly baby care company Pura announces it is one step closer to making nappy recycling available to all UK parents, as it spearheads a pioneering new pilot in Bristol.

The initiative will see curb side collection of nappies, and hygiene products such as sanitary towels, recycled and repurposed in the first trial of its kind in England (a Scottish nappy recycling trial was conducted by Zero Waste Scotland in 2013).

Commencing on 6th July, the 6-month trial will initially offer 47 households and one nursery group in the Bristol area free curb side nappy collections, with waste collection services provided by Natural UK. The used nappies will then be transported to the NappiCycle plant in Wales, where they will be cleansed, with plastics and cellulose fibres separated for re-use. The project will be funded by Pura and supported in an awareness drive by well-known supermarket brand Asda.

Pura and NappiCycle began a partnership in 2020, with Pura’s goal being to help bring NappiCycle’s state-of-the-art Welsh nappy recycling service to the entire UK. Now, in partnership with one of the UK’s favourite supermarket chains, Pura NappiCycle is ready to launch phase 1 of the first nappy recycling trial in England, starting with Bristol due to the Council’s progressive approach to household waste management.

Guy Fennell, Pura founder commented: “We’ve calculated that if the 3bn nappies used each year in the UK were 100% recycled, it would be the same as removing 72,000 cars from our roads annually. We know that nappy collection and recycling works, but it requires investment and legislation change to roll out the service outside of Wales. We need to act now and to try to convince the Government to make a change as soon as possible.”

Every year, 8 million disposable nappies are thrown into landfill in the UK, each one taking hundreds of years to degrade – long outliving the babies they are used on.

The technology for cost effective nappy recycling already exists. Many parents in Wales enjoy a free, local authority provided nappy collection and recycling service, with the nappy waste processed by NappiCycle. 100% of the soiled nappies are processed, so absolutely nothing is sent to landfill, thanks to a pioneering, cost effective technique developed by Rob Poyer, NappiCycle’s founder.

Rob Poyer NappiCycle founder added: “The concept for NappiCycle started back in 2009, to provide a low impact, cost-efficient nappy and absorbent hygiene products recycling facility in Wales. As a company, we give our customers 100% diversion from the traditional landfill disposal method as well as providing the added element of recovery and recycling. What has traditionally been viewed as a waste product has now become a resource. I hope that the trial proves how a nappy recycling service can be provided effectively outside of Wales.”

Matt Moreland, Pura’s sustainability director said: “Nappy recycling is an immediate solution to the problem of nappy waste. It will prevent millions of tonnes of valuable resource from nappies and hygiene products from ending up in landfill or being incinerated, now. There is a lot of innovation happening in the baby care sector to reduce the impact of caring for families, but this could take years to evolve. At Pura we’re so proud to be offering an instant answer.”

Asda Customer Planning Manager, Hannah Essam, said: “At Asda we don’t send anything to landfill, and we are always looking to work with like-minded organisations who can help customers do their bit for the environment. We are delighted to be able to support Pura and we hope this will be a successful trial which will lead to Asda shoppers living more sustainably.”

In the last year alone, NappiCycle diverted more than 8,000 tons—the equivalent of 40 million nappies – from landfill in Wales. The recovered cellulose and plastic fibres have been repurposed for road surfacing, notice boards, panelling, insulation under laminate flooring and other insulation.

The findings of the trial will be used to inform conversations with DEFRA and local authorities throughout the UK about the feasibility and benefits of nappy cycling. Costs and carbon impact will be among the outcomes monitored.

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