Mid Wales

Aberystwyth University nappy recycling breakthrough

Joe Freemantle (left) and Dr Gordon Allison Image copyright Anthony Pugh
Image caption Joe Freemantle with his Aberystwyth University tutor Dr Gordon Allison

A scientist has developed a process to recycle nappies, incontinence pads and sanitary products.

Aberystwyth University's Joe Freemantle said waste can be separated and refined to produce biofuel and textiles.

He said those include rayon and viscose, which are often used to make clothing.

Every year the UK produces one million tonnes of hygiene product waste - most going to landfill sites, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

The work was funded by the Climate-KIC Greenhouse programme, following a successful bid in December 2015.

"I have always had a passion for sustainability, climate change and business and my aim here is to bring all three together in a positive move," Mr Freemantle said.

"It will also be possible to regenerate very pure and valuable cellulose, which can be used to manufacture polymers such as rayon, lyocell and viscose."

His original concept was based on converting used cigarette butts into biofuel, which led to him establishing his company Green Phoenix and the project to convert used nappies and sanitary waste.

Biofuels are fuels produced from plant material or waste.

In 2012, the EU changed its policy on biofuels, encouraging production from waste materials rather than from food crops.

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