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From nappies to roof tiles

A scheme to recycle thousands of tonnes of used nappies has been announced. The first of five plants designed to reclaim the plastic and fibres used in disposable nappies will open in Birmingham with four others planned for 2014. The first plant will be able to process 36,000 tonnes each year with the recovered materials initially used to make roof tilers. Future products could include cycling helmets, plant pots, shoes and cladding. As a baby would ususally get through 5 nappies a day (or a staggering 1825 per year for two years) the number of used nappies sent to landfill is enormous – over 500,000 tonnes of waste each year in the UK (about 3% of all landfill) – and disposable nappies do not biodegrade. The new plant, operated by Knowaste will initially employ 22 people.