Dutch city cradle of European diaper recycling
AMSTERDAM - A Dutch city this week embarks on a dirty job in a bid to clean up the environment: recycling the disposable nappies of its youngest citizens.
Parents in Arnhem have started dropping nappies sealed in plastic bags into special bins outside two child care facilities and a local recycling firm has been hired to extract wood pulp and plastic from the waste, the city council said this week.
Knowaste BV, the subsidiary of a Canadian firm, plans to collect Arnhems annual 200,000 kilos of nappies from 40 bins in the city, many of which will be outside childcare centres, once the project is fully up and running later this year.
The company, which will treat waste water and turn sludge into compost during recycling, is set to collect its first weeks offerings from Arnhems babies and toddlers on Friday.
"We hope that within two years it will be as normal to separate your diapers as glass and cans. Its all automated and computerised," Knowaste BVs sales manager Niels Willems said.
"The process is more environmentally friendly than landfill or incineration. By recycling the waste we save water, energy and wood."
The company will collect the nappies for recycling at its local plant for the same price the council paid another firm to incinerate the waste in the past, Arnhem city council said.
Children in the Netherlands each use some 6,000 nappies by the time they are 30 months old and create some 180 million kilos of waste every year.
Environmentalists estimate disposable nappies in landfill sites could take up to 500 years to decompose and have urged parents to return to using washable nappies.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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