Potential for circularity in diapers and incontinence care products

CASE STUDY | For Flemish waste management organisation OVAM, PRé researched the potential for circularity and recycling of diapers and other absorbent hygiene products (AHP), a huge part of the household waste stream.

By Anne Gaasbeek on June 12, 2018

Diapers and incontinence care products


Increasing circularity in one of the world’s largest waste streams

Any parent, nursery worker or hospital or care facility employee can tell you the shocking amount of waste that is generated by absorbent hygiene products such as diapers and incontinence care products. In Flanders, these products make up 12% of the total household waste stream. Since there are currently no good methods to recycle these products, they end up in the incinerator. Bringing circularity into the AHP sector, whether through reusable diapers and incontinence care products, design for recycling or innovative business models, offers great promise.


Determining the most valuable steps forward

To find out where the opportunities lie and which circular approach is the best fit with the sector, PRé did literature research and held interviews with key actors through the AHP supply chain. The report that resulted from this research outlined three topics that offer excellent opportunities for increasing recycling of AHPs, with two actionable steps each. The steps take a broad approach, with actions to be taken at the government, design, production and communication level.


For more information, please read the full case study.

Contact the author

‘I believe every organisation can be triggered to make a positive change, with the right information and action plan. I enjoy helping organisations get there by translating complex sustainability metrics into actionable information.’

Contact Anne Gaasbeek
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