A potty idea? UK plans houses made from nappies

The fight for green housing in the UK has taken on a new colour as Britain plans to recycle nappies for building materials.

Used nappies will be converted by new recycling factories into roof tiles and other construction parts as Canadian company Knowaste brings its unique form of waste disposal to the UK.

Britons go through three billion disposable nappies each year, producing thousands of tonnes of waste. And babies are estimated to use 6,000 of them before being potty trained, with each nappy taking several hundred years to decompose.

Knowaste plans to open five facilities across the country in the next four years, collecting nappies and feminine hygiene products from hospitals and nurseries. Once recycled and sterilised, the products can then be converted into roof tiles, fibre-based materials and other plastic components, which can be used in the building of new homes.

Roy Brown, CEO of Knowaste, commented: "This first site in West Bromwich represents the beginning of a £25million overall investment in the UK, that will produce capacity for handling about a fifth of the waste stream – equating to a saving of 110,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year."

The first recycling plant opens as the UK housing market struggles to recover from the recession. As developers try to increase the supply of affordable new homes, moving nappy waste from landfills to living room walls may not be such a potty idea after all.

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