Zooming in on the recycling process of used diapers

Diapers and other incontinence material are extremely ingenious products. Very easy to use, based on a world of technology. Due to the multitude of materials, the materials absorb a lot of moisture and yet remain relatively dry in contact with the skin. And after use, you can also get rid of the used diapers super-easily. But how do we recycle these high-quality products?

The process: deactivation of SAP’s

Diapers are collected from municipalities, day care centers and care institutions. Upon entry the material is shredded and washed. The plastic is then separated from the other material and further washed and pelletized. The remaining waste (SAP's, paper fibers and compost) is sterilized with a jet cooker, which kills the pathogens. Then comes the unique in the process of Diaper Recycling Europe: the deactivation of the SAP's. That is a patented process that we are very proud of. It ensures that we are able to manufacture high-quality secondary products. We are able to recover high-quality fibers and SAP's separately. Or in a composition thereof, which is interesting for cat litter for example. The remaining residual flows are further treated for the degradation of medicines. Water and air are post-treated. We really only need to dispose of 2% of the diaper material as actual waste.

100% recycling – 0% incineration

Continuous research

Diaper Recycling Europe is very proud of the process as we currently perform it. But we also know: we are only at the beginning. Currently only 0.3% of global diaper waste is recycled. We are fully committed to our mission to continuously improve the process. That is why we conduct ongoing research together with knowledge institutes to continuously improve our process. And above all, making our recycling process even cleaner and safer.

High demands on recycling

Europe is on its way to become fully circular. The Netherlands would like to reacht that point by 20250. This means that the secondary products must meet very high standards. A number of protocols and assessment criteria have been drawn up for this by the Dutch government (including RIVM). The requirements for clean and safe recycling of diaper material are probably the highest in the Netherlands. We are in discussion with all authorities to meet these high requirements.

RIVM, LAP3, End of Waste

The Dutch helath authority, RIVM, has drawn up an extensive protocol to assess the recycling process and the secondary flows for safety. Breaking down pathogens and medicines is central to this protocol. This also applies to other waste sector plans (LAP3): requirements that you cannot simply meet. This also applies to the End of Waste status of the European Commission, which places high demands on the secondary products.