Millions of feminine hygiene products, nappies, and other hygiene waste currently sent to landfill by hospitals, GPs’ surgeries, care homes, and other healthcare organisations, can now be recycled to produce clean energy, according to PHS Group.
The result of a multi-million pound investment, the company’s LifeCycle process – said to be the first ‘that can operate cost-effectively and on an industrial scale’ – combines mechanical separation with chemical treatment, converting highly absorbent hygiene products into Refused Derived Fuel (RDF), which is then supplied to the alternative energy market both in the UK and in Europe. RDF is typically burned in biomass plants to produce electricity and hot water for municipal power systems, National Grid, or individual companies. The Environment Agency and Nappy Alliance say hygiene product waste ‘takes up to 500 years to decompose, and is one of the largest contributors to UK landfill’.
Justin Tydeman, PHS Group CEO, said: “We have spent almost a decade refining the LifeCycle process, and now have a viable option for diverting hygiene waste products away from landfill. Our goal is zero to landfill for our customers’ hygiene waste products by the end of 2017.”