Wednesday 9 January 2008

PIRA's Future of Sustainable Hygiene Products – Prague - Dec 2007

  1. Global Hygiene Trends
  2. The Holistic Approach to Personal Care
  3. Organic Cotton
  4. Sustainable Procurement in the NHS
  5. Sustainable Procurement of Forest Products
  6. Sustainable Production
  7. Time for Green Thinking
  8. Innovation in Sustainability
  9. Recycling Hygiene Products
  10. Disposing of Hygiene Products
  11. Measuring Biodegradability
  12. A new Biodegradable Superabsorbent
  13. Enhancing Sustainable Performance
  14. Wound-care developments

Key Points

• Disposal of used diapers in landfill is likely to be banned as moves to exclude biodegradable materials from European landfills take effect over the next few years.

• Disposal of used diapers in the biodegradable waste stream is unlikely to be allowed due to their high content of non-biodegradable materials.
• Incineration of use diapers is unacceptable due to high energy input needed.
• The Knowaste used-diaper recycling process appears to be gaining ground in Europe . The main payback is now from recycling PP into roof tiles and pulp/faeces into biogas.
• Used diaper collection logistics remain the key problem. A diaper tax could be the answer. Calls for the “producer pays” principal to be applied to diaper disposal appear to be getting more strident.
• Organic food's success over the last 10 years could be a model for the future of currently high-price, niche “organic” sustainable disposables.
• Purchasers of organic food will also try premium-priced sustainable hygiene products if they are available in the same store.
• Organic cotton tampons are said to improve the well-being of users. Natracare, the manufacturer, now selling in 45 countries, will not use US-grown organic cotton because farming and certification standards are too low.
• Consumers appreciate the carbon-footprint labelling which is emerging on biodegradable hygiene products. Water-footprinting could be the next differentiation.
• Dow and Crystalsev are collaborating on the production of 350,000 tonnes/year of polyethylene from sugar cane.
• A biodegradable superabsorbent based on styrene maleic anhydride polymer in a biocomposite with gelatin is said to cost less than PAA and have similar properties. It can also be spun into fine soft fibres.

Global Hygiene Trends
Adrian Atterby of Euromonitor International (UK) provided an updated version of the paper given several outings by Euromonitor at disposables conferences this year. The notable points this time were as follows:-