Renewi and Essity, a producer of well-known branded products such as TENA and Libero, are developing a sustainable solution to recycle nappies and incontinence materials in an effort to reduce the amount of these products sent to incineration in the Netherlands each year. Currently, about 400,000 tons of absorbent products, between 5-8% of residual waste, is sent to incineration per year. The recycling of these nappies and incontinence materials would make a significant contribution to the ambitious goals of the Dutch government which aims to increase recycling rates for household waste to 75% in 2020 and to achieve a full circular economy without any waste by 2050.
Renewi has been working on a method to process and recycle incontinence materials for the last few years with a focus to recover the valuable raw materials including a high quality cellulose fibre. Renewi will reuse the cellulose recovered in the recycling process as a secondary raw material for the chemical industry, where cellulose is widely used.
This partnership allows Renewi to work with one of the largest producers of nappies and incontinence products in the world. Essity will provide knowledge about these products and their specific markets. Renewi will be responsible for the source segregation and collection of these materials from the customer base and the further development of a recycling solution that will enable the recovery of the cellulose. The focus of the partnership is to maximise recycling and close the materials value chain.
Eric Segers, director Specialties in Renewi’s Netherlands Commercial Division says, “We are always looking for new, innovative ways to process waste streams into valuable raw materials. The amount of nappies currently sent to incineration is not sustainable, we look forward to working with Essity to recycle more of these materials and achieve our ‘waste no more’ vision.”
"Essity has been involved in the government’s nappies project since its started at the end of 2014," says Wilma Venes, public and regulatory affairs manager for Essity. "We are also member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s CE100 network which helps companies to develop circular solutions. As a member of CE100, Essity generates new insights and ideas, which we convert into innovations and concrete solutions, of which this project is a good example."
Renewi was created in 2017 by the merger of Shanks Group plc and Van Gansewinkel Groep B.V., and is a leading waste-to-product business ideally positioned to be part of the solution to some of the main environmental problems facing society today: reducing waste, avoiding pollution, and preventing the unnecessary use of finite natural resources.