Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHPs) have become essential everyday products to society and their use has increased substantially. As with every consumer product, also AHP's end up in solid waste after their use. Today, they represent approx. 2-4% of the total Municipal Solid waste and are considered a non-recyclable fraction, which is usually incinerated or landfilled. Over the past 20 years there has been great progress by AHPs manufacturers to reduce the environmental impact of AHPs, for example, the average weight of baby diapers was reduced by around 50%. However, to meet society’s needs for sustainable consumption there is further innovation required: Fater has developed and patented an innovative recycling solution for post-consumer AHP waste creating secondary raw materials for higher value applications. This is already demonstrated through an industrial scale unit based in Lovadina di Spresiano (Treviso – Italy).
What is Embraced?
Embraced is an EU funded project, involving 12 partners partners from businesses, academia, and research institutions. It is aimed at closing the loop for AHP waste, reducing greenhouse gases emission and increasing sustainability in Europe. The objective of the project is the establishment of a first-of-its-kind demonstration plant of an integrated biorefinery, based on the valorization of the cellulosic fraction of post-consumer AHP waste towards the production of bio-based building blocks, polymers and fertilizers.
Embraced will operate valorizing all the fractions from the process, to obtain marketable end-products fully competitive in terms of cost, quality and sustainability. Importantly, the project will follow a circular economy approach, closing the cycle of raw materials and minimizing the use of primary resources, through the establishment of virtuous models of cooperation among all the involved stakeholders.