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High hopes for UK nappy recycling

A pilot initiative may well be the start of large-scale nappy recycling across the UK, which would save billions from landfill, experts say.

In the first phase of a trial, said to be the first of its kind in the country, 31 500 used nappies have been diverted from landfill because of a partnership between baby brand Pura and recycler NappiCycle.

The Pura NappiCycle trial was launched in July 2022 with nappies and other absorbent hygiene product waste being collected in Bristol and then taken to south Wales for processing at the NappiCycle facility. The waste is being transformed into materials such as engineered fibre for road surfaces, notice boards, panelling, and insulation under laminate flooring.

Feedback from 50 parents and two nurseries involved in the trial is said to be resoundingly positive, with all participants rating the service highly and recommending it to others. The trial included 13 kerbside collections over six months.

According to Pura founder Guy Fennell, every year three billion disposable nappies are thrown into landfill in the UK, each one taking hundreds of years to break down. Pura is on a mission to change that, says Fennell. ‘The success of this phase of the trial is just the start – we want to bring this nappy recycling service to households throughout the UK. This requires investment and government backing which as a business we will continue to lobby for.’

Following the trial, Pura and NappiCycle have agreed a five-year exclusive extension to their partnership agreement. The goal is to deliver more, larger scale nappy recycling trials and develop the underlying technology, as well as continuing to press government and local authorities to deliver a UK-wide service available to all users of absorbent hygiene products.

Rob Poyer, founder of NappiCycle, says: ‘Pura’s investment in our partnership has been fundamental to the continuing development of nappy recycling technology.’

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