Ontex is a global producer of disposable nappies for babies, incontinence products for adults and sanitary towels, tampons and panty liners for feminine hygiene.
Today, used disposable nappies and other hygiene products make up a large proportion of waste from households, day-care centres and healthcare facilities. This waste is currently incinerated. As sustainability is an important strategic pillar for Ontex, we initiated the Loopcare project together with our partner Agricon. In this project, we conducted a feasibility study into other recycling and valorisation possibilities.
Through the Loopcare project, we investigated the following questions:
Can we take into account the recycling possibilities of disposable nappies from the design stage?
Can we use partially recycled raw materials to manufacture new products?
Can we work with partners who apply innovative recycling techniques?
Partners Agricon Nederland
By 2020, our measures will already lead to a saving of 1.5 kilotonnes of plastic waste and 3.8 kilotonnes of CO2 and more actions will follow.
Both planned and spontaneous collaborations with different parties in the chain, the subsidy of Flanders Circular, and the internal dynamics within Ontex were an important added value in this project and a big step forward for Ontex.
The cooperation with various developers of innovative recycling techniques will be continued in the future. A fully transparent and mutual knowledge transfer is extremely useful: on the one hand about the limitations and possibilities of recycling technology and on the other hand about product design and production.
It is also important that governments and other organisations continue to support the efforts in our sector with stimulating measures and by correctly informing and raising awareness in the market. After all, market demand remains the main driver for innovation, also in the field of circular solutions. There are now solutions for recycling this type of waste, the biggest challenge now is to this infrastructure cost-efficiently. We absolutely want to avoid that recycling would lead to an increase of the (already high) waste costs.