Technology Features & Specifications
Diapers and other Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHPs) are mainly composed of a mix of polymers (superabsorbent polymers and PP/PE) and natural fibres (cellulose). Existing technologies have been developed to sterilise, dry and separate the AHPs into their constituent parts. However, these separated component streams are typically contaminated and not pure.
This technology thus proposes the use of advanced enzymatic processes for the degradation in mild conditions of various synthetic and bio-based polymers, and cellulosic fractions into their building blocks. With different enzymes, due to their specificity, it is also possible to fully degrade composite materials consisting of e.g. PET (polyethylene terephthalate), cellulose, etc. It is even possible to identify novel enzymes for specific industrial applications.
Furthermore, sustainable processes have been developed for the re-use of recovered valuable molecules. Recovered sugars can be used to perform different fermentation processes for the production of e.g. bioethanol, lactic acid, etc. The recovered building blocks can be used in chemical synthesis and can be re-used as secondary raw materials. These activities make use of the latest biotechnology tools and sophisticated analytical equipment as well as facilities for scale-up.
This technology may be applied in the following applications:
- Recycling of unsoiled waste diapers
- Recycling of soiled waste diapers
- Recycling of other absorbent hygiene products, e.g. incontinence pads and feminine hygiene products
The enzymatic method of recycling allows for users to degrade specific materials within a composite, and degrade them to their chemical building blocks. This enables the recovery of specific component material of the diapers/AHPs in a much purer form, allowing the recovered material to be used in a wider range of applications.