Economics of nappy recycling questioned as UK's only plant closes

The future of nappy waste recycling in the UK appears uncertain despite plans for a new treatment facility to come on-stream later in the year.

Last month the UK's only existing plant for nappy recycling, operated by Knowaste (Midlands) in West Bromwich, suddenly closed.

The Canadian-owned company claimed the closure of its 36,000-tonne facility was necessary to ensure it could meet capacity going forward, and said it was looking to set up a larger infrastructure network elsewhere.

However sources close to edie have speculated that the Knowaste plant was not cost-effective primarily due to its location and power source. The company itself was also reported by auditors to be under financial pressure.

Whether Knowaste will continue its venture into the UK market remains to be seen, but another contender, OCS owned Envirocomp, now plans to open its first UK nappy recyclng facility in Rochester this Autumn.

Based in an existing waste facility, commercial customers in the south east of England will have the option of composting all types of waste from absorbent hygiene products such as nappy, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence.

This material will be collected from Cannon Hygiene's commercial customers in the region - another company within the OCS Group, which provides washroom services.

Envirocomp, a New Zealand company which runs two similar plants in Canterbury and Wellington, New Zealand, has been successfully operating since 2009. It developed its composting process with HotRot Organic Solutions using existing patented HotRot composting technology.

The Rochester plant will have capacity yo compost up to 6.5 million nappies and other products each year. Envirocomp director Andy Band said that the company anticipated developing similar plants to other parts of the UK in the near future.

Maxine Perella


composting | nappies


Waste & resource management
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