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Recycling matters: that’s the bottom line.

USED nappies could be turned into garden furniture or roof tiles under an imaginative recycling scheme being trailed in Scotland.

Around 160 million nappies are sent to rubbish tips in Scotland each year but a pilot scheme in four Scottish Councils is hoping to put an end to that. 

Over the next six weeks a disposable nappy recycling scheme will be offered to around 36,000 homes in Fife, Stirling, Perth and Kinross and North Lanarkshire. This scheme will establish whether it is practical to offer a more widespread service in the future.

Funded by Zero Waste Scotland, the scheme will make it easier for parents in the four pilot areas to do their bit for the environment by recycling some of the 450,000 nappies currently dumped every day in Scotland.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Disposable nappies, although convenient, do have a huge impact on the environment with a staggering 450,000 ending up in landfill each day in Scotland.

"This innovative new scheme is a fantastic step forward for recycling and makes it easier for parents to do their bit for the environment.

“It’s great that new technologies allow us to recycle even more materials. In this way, we can reuse our waste and treat it as a valuable resource with the potential to boost our economy.”

The nappies will be recycled to create a range of products including park benches, garden furniture, decking, bollards, railway sleepers, fencing, roof tiles and cardboard.

About Zero Waste Scotland:

  •  Zero Waste Scotland works with businesses, communities, individuals and local authorities to help them reduce waste, recycle more and use resources sustainably.
  • Zero Waste Scotland is funded by the Scottish Government to support the delivery of its Zero Waste Plan.
  •  More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at their website

Roy Brown, Chief Executive of Knowaste, who is supporting the pilot said:

“Our plant is a specialist recycling facility, which is the first of its kind in the UK.  We use new technology to allow us to turn absorbent hygiene products, previously unsuitable for recycling, into valuable plastics and fibres, which can then be used to make new products.

“We are delighted to support the trial collection services in Scotland, which we hope will lead to a wider adoption of the recycling service across the country.” 

Defra research suggests an average of 4.16 nappies per baby per day, with over 90 per cent of babies using disposables.

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About Charlie Kennedy

Having studied Law, English and Philosophy, I went travelling to India for 6 weeks working in orphanages and in a leper colony. I came home and decided to study Journalism. Starting my third and final year this September, I have just been given the fanta... read more