Our challenge is to turn into an advantage also for the environment the use of children’s diapers, sanitary pads, and incontinence pads. With this objective in mind, we designed the first technological process in Italy to recycle the personal hygiene absorbent products and their transformation into new raw materials.
At the factory of a United States-based supplier, the company built a first pilot plant that proved the possibility to recyclepersonal hygiene absorbent products.
The next step wasto finalize a new machine capable of serving a population of about 400,000 people, with the goal of installing it by 2014 in the Veneto region (Italy).
Our aim is then to expand the recycling experience to other areas of Italy by 2015/2016.
If the system were applied to the entire country, it would allow eliminating 2,5% of all urban solid waste; 900,000 tons of used personal hygiene absorbent products by all brands that now are disposed of in landfills (65%) or incinerated (35%).
From now on, used diapers can be recycled, and will become urban furniture and many other items of daily use such as cardboard for industrial packaging and fertilizers.The recycling tech-process, developed based onFater’s Italian patents,generates plastic granules and cellulosic organic matter of high quality completely sterilized thanks to the use of steam that eliminates all pathogens and bad odors.1 ton of used products will produce 95 kg. of plastic and 280 kg. of cellulosic organic matter.
Loading of the products into autoclave
Sterilization and odor neutralization using steam under pressure
Transfer to separating basket
Separation of plastic and celluloseThe advantages
For the environment
Thanks to its recycling system, Fater is the first in Italy to deal with thepost-useimpact of absorbent sanitary products, substantiallyreducing them.The experimental system will allow recycling, at full capacity, about 5,000 tons/year of personal hygiene absorbent products.Ambiente Italia, a group leader in the research and operating in the field of analysis, planning and environmental design, validated the strong environmental impactreduction resulting from the project by listing and quantifying itsseveral advantages.
Raw material recovered:2,500 ton/year.
Elimination of waste in landfills for the project: -5,000 tons/year considering the recycling process up to the production of new secondary raw material; -4,600 tons/year conservatively considering also waste arising from subsequent productions that would use the new secondary raw material;
Reduction of greenhouse gases: the diapers’ end of “life”turn into carbon negative, in fact not only it avoidsall the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the separate collection but it even leads to a benefit of 17.7 kg of CO2 equivalents per ton;
CO2 saved in the area where the system operates: 1,874 tons/year, equal to the CO2 captured annually by over 62,000 trees;
-17 kg / year of particulate, - 270 kg /year of nitrogen oxides - 230 kg/year of carbon monoxide (compared to the incinerator solution); reduction of primary energy: 11,609 MJ / year equivalent to the average electrical consumption of more than 500 families;
Potential reduction in the costs of delivery to the recycling plant compared to the delivery cost to thelandfill.
Cubic meters of landfill saved for the specific project: 6,500 m3/year.
For the economy
New secondary raw material: a ton of used diapers recycled produces almost 150 kg of plastic to be used in new productions (urban furniture, objects, etc.) and more than 350 kg of cellulosic-organic matter to be used for the production of cardboard for industrial packaging or as fertilizer capable to restore nourishing substances to depleted soils.
Efficient service of separate collection for personal hygiene absorbent products using airtight containers at home where to dispose of the used pads. 400,000 potential users for the pilot project at full capacity;
The specific separate collection of diapers subtracts volume and weight to the total residual waste fractionof individual families; for this separate collection,citizens paya taxdepending on the volume;
The advantage of being able to choose the diaper with the best performance without compromises for their after-use, which, thanks to the recycling system, turns into an advantage (see comparison of Life Cycle Assessments between the washable diapers and disposable ones).
What is better for the environment
COMPARISON BETWEEN DISPOSABLE AND WASHABLE DIAPERS IN A STUDY CARRIED OUT BY AMBIENTE ITALIA.
CERTIFICATES AND AWARDS
The comparison between disposable diapers and washable onesfrom an environmental point of view allows noticing that the elimination of CO2 emissions from the product’s end of life, thanks to the recycling process, makes the CO2 balance of disposable diapers environmentally preferable to washable ones, even considering efficient drying systems.
(Source: Ambiente Italia - Environmental analysis of the collection and recycling of absorbent sanitary products - November 2011)
Thus, considering the entire life cycle, from production of raw material to post-use, now disposable diapers, thanks to the recycling, has emissions lower than 19% compared to the washable products.
Essentially, from the equivalence in environmental impact between disposable diapers and washable ones emerged from a comparative LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) analysis carried out by the English Ministry for the Environment, it appears that, as pointed out in 2008, today, thanks to the innovative recycling system of used diapers designed by Fater S.p.A., the advantagefor the environment in the use of disposable diapers is clear, if the diapers are separately collected and recycled.
CERTIFICATES AND AWARDS
Fater believes that nowadays being a business means to harmonize the proper requirements of growth with the awareness of being a responsible entity. For this reason, we pay a lot of attention to the safety of people, processes and environmental protection, thanks to a constant monitoring of our work.