Cheshire’s nappy recycling expertise wanted Down Under

The first local authority in England to offer residents a dedicated weekly nappy recycling service has scaled new heights in its drive to divert the absorbent hygiene waste from landfill.

Cheshire West & Chester Council’s commitment to increase recycling rates and slash the volume of this waste stream sent to landfill has drawn Australian waste management firm Relivit to the UK to see the ‘Nappycycle’ service in action.

Relivit’s managing director Gareth Williamson said he wanted to investigate the practical issues of delivering such a service – mainly the tools that were used and the benefits in collecting this material from the kerbside.

The pilot scheme, which was rolled out last summer in partnership with service provider May Gurney, aims to divert almost 5,000 tonnes of nappies generated in the borough from landfill every year.

Nappycycle covers 56,000 households in the borough’s pilot area and is designed to target the properties that need the service most. It complements the council’s Recycle First collection service and contributes towards enhancing recycling performance by as much as 322kg per household each year.

The nappies are collected and transported in bulk to the UK’s first nappy recycling facility, Knowaste in West Bromwich. The West Midlands-based company, which specialises in recycling absorbent hygiene products, then recovers the plastics and fibres for reuse.

After being unsuccessful in its application for funding for the Department for Communities & Local Government’s weekly collection fund, the council has extended the pilot while alternate funding opportunities are explored.

“Disposable nappies are an essential part of life for those with young children but disposing of them comes at a significant cost and has a huge environmental impact,” said the council’s executive member for community & environment, Lynn Riley.

“It is enormously exciting that people of West Cheshire are seen as global trailblazers for this service, which reflects this authority’s commitment to improving recycling rates and reducing the amount we send to landfill.”

Nick Warburton

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