An estimated 300,000 babies are born in Australia annually, and about 95 per cent of them wear disposable nappies for as many as four years. A nappy recycling trial by Kimberly-Clark – the maker of Huggies Nappies – could help divert 1.5 billion disposable nappies in landfills each year into better use.
The Nappy Loop uses anaerobic digestion to convert soiled nappies into nutrient-rich compost. In addition, the bioenergy captured is used to power the recycling process, while the plastic components are separated and evaluated for future recycled products.
The trial was launched in July in South Australia, together with Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, South Australian composters Peats Soils and Garden Supplies, Solo Resource Recovery, and early learning and care provider G8 Education.
“We believe we have a responsibility to lead by example and find better solutions for the community and our planet,” said Belinda Driscoll, ANZ MD at Kimberly-Clark.
“While we work to innovate and create more sustainable products, recycling is one solution for disposable nappy waste. Identifying a recycling solution that works hasn’t been easy due to the availability of technology and collection systems.”
The Nappy Loop adopts a B2B Model, with Solo collecting used nappies from G8 Education’s Welly Road Early Learning Centre and then delivering them to the Peats composting facility for processing.
Pete Wadewitz, the MD of Peats, South Australia’s largest composter, said anaerobic digestion is a growing area of focus and possibility in Australia.
“The process has been used successfully in Toronto, Canada, to recycle disposable nappies, and we are excited to be introducing this innovative approach in the Southern Hemisphere as we work to solve the nappy waste issue,” he said.
The nappy recycling initiative is now exploring opportunities to scale the program nationwide.
You may also be interested in reading: Eight eco-friendly diapers in the UK.