What can be done with recycled nappies?

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dirty nappies

They’re the ultimate in convenience, but it's no secret that disposable nappies are making a mess for our planet.

The UK throws away around 3 billion disposable nappies annually, and 400,000 tonnes of disposable nappy waste ends up in landfill each year. Used nappies can take up to 500 years to degrade, long outliving the babies they were used on.

Now, thanks to Pura NappiCycle, and support from the Welsh Government, used nappies are being repurposed - for a super cool road resurfacing trial in Wales!

From late February, parents and other drivers using a stretch of road on the A487 between Cardigan to Aberystwyth in Wales may be unaware that they’re driving over 1.4 miles of roadway containing recovered fibres from over 100,000 used nappies!

If you were to line these nappies up - end-to-end - you’d get an 11km stretch of nappies. Wowsers.

The road to change

road laying

For the road resurfacing project, a total of 4.3 tonnes of recovered fibre from nappies will be added to the bitumen that glues together the asphalt road surfaces.

The “nappy-enhanced” asphalt is even more durable than standard asphalt but with a reduced carbon footprint, so provides a green solution to road re-surfacing for the Welsh Government.

Nappy recycling in Wales

Nappy recycling is currently a local authority offered service available only in Wales where waste collection is considered to be more advanced than many other places across the UK.

Through South Wales based NappiCycle, the nappies are cleansed, and plastics and cellulose fibres separated for re-use.

100% of the soiled nappies arriving at the plant are processed, so absolutely nothing is sent to landfill. The urine extracted from the nappies is even reutilised! 

The recovered cellulose can be repurposed not just for road surfacing, but for notice boards for schools and offices, panelling, under laminate flooring and other insulation.  

Pura NappiCycle

Guy Fennell with recycled nappies

Guy Fennell, Pura founder, set up Pura to make eco easier for parents.

But he is determined to drive even bigger change for the planet. This led to him teaming up with NappiCycle in 2020. The Pura NappiCycle partnership has kept 40 million nappies out of landfill - that's 800,000 nappies from being landfilled every single week.  

 It's Pura's mission to now bring nappy recycling to the entire UK, starting with a nappy recycling trial in Bristol very, very soon. We'll keep you posted... 





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