Fater has created an innovative process capable of recycling the used absorbent products for the person, transforming them into new secondary raw materials.
FATERSMART offers economic and eco-friendly waste management solution to the Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHP) consumers, municipalities, SME in the field of waste and recycling, AHP producers and to all citizens.
AHPs waste contribute between 2-4% of the total Municipal Solid Waste. Each year 900,000 tons of AHP waste are incinerated or landfilled in Italy, 8,500,000 tons in Europe and over 30,000,000 tons in the world.
FATER provides AHP separated collection and an autoclave treatment process where AHP are sanitized, de-composed and dried, leading to the recovery of its valuable components (mostly high-quality cellulose and specialty plastics). The recycled diapers become urban furniture and many other items of daily use such as cardboard for industrial packaging and fertilizers thus giving a new life to that which just a few years ago was considered a non-recyclable waste product.
This industrial eco-system starts in 2012 with the project “RECALL - REcycling of Complex AHP waste through a first time application of patented treatment process and demonstration of sustainable business model” co-funded by the European Commission under the CIP Eco-Innovation - Pilot and Market Replication Projects Call 2011. Partners participated: CONTARINA SPA; FATER SPA; AMBIENTE ITALIA SRL; COMUNE DI PONTE NELLE ALPI; EUROPEAN PLASTICS RECYCLERS from Belgium.
Thanks to some European, National, Regional co-financed projects (RECALL, VIRGIN, RECOVER, MORPHE’, CIRCPACK, EMBRACED) 10M€ in total have been invested.
Actually the plant employs 15 employees working for future development of the technology.
Evidence of success
- Processing of 10,000 metric tons/year of used AHP.
- Recycling allows the recovery of high-quality secondary raw material with a number of new uses. 150 kg (330 lbs.) of cellulose, 75 kg (165 lbs.) of plastic, and 75 kg (165 lbs.) of superabsorbent polymer may be recovered upon recycling of each metric ton of such waste.
- The emissions avoided are by far greater than those generated by the recycling system as a whole.
- Jobs opportunities increased:15 new employees.
The greatest difficulty encountered in these years of experimentation is attributed to the absence of specific legislation, which at European or national level, recognizes the AHPs used as end of waste and not as waste by establishing the relative criteria.
Potential for learning or transfer
Every year, a functioning plant would save the amount of emissions produced by over 1,100 vehicles. If the system were active at a worldwide level, we would save 9 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. By preventing landfill disposal, we would save a surface area equivalent to 450 football fields or a volume equivalent to 60 Coliseums.
To set up the FaterSMART technology means accessing new markets and a new business, thanks to the increase in revenue from the disposal of used absorbent hygiene products and to the new revenue from sales of secondary raw material of a higher quality level than the corresponding standard recycled materials.
The FaterSMART -branded innovation takes on particular relevance especially in contexts where it is possible to reach or exceed the recycling targets established by legislation. In fact, in contexts where over 70-80% of waste is recycled, used absorbent hygiene products account for up to 20-25% of non-recycled residual waste.
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