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Kenyan Melvin Kizito moved from Nairobi (Kenia) to Sittard-Geleen in The Netherlands. At the Brightlands Chemelot Campus he is working on a sustainable and energy-efficient process for recycling absorbent hygiene products, such as diapers and sanitary towels.
Editorial office / Geleen

As early as 2019, Kizito and two colleagues at the University of Nairobi developed a chemical recycling process for nappy waste. “Kenya does not have a functioning waste management system, and diapers are lying around everywhere. The problem is that they digest very slowly, smell extremely bad and are highly polluting.”

They formulated a chemical process to process diapers into bioethanol, winning national and international awards. However, the process proved not efficient enough and could not handle synthetic fibres. The process was therefore changed: now plastic, wood pulp and absorbent gel are recovered separately from the diapers and used as raw material for other products, such as plastic films, cat litter, viscose and industrial absorbents.

Kizito has since emigrated to the Netherlands and continued his business on his own under the name Alkyl Recycling. At the Brightlands Chemelot Campus, he is working on a 15 kton/day demo plant which he aims to have realised in three years’ time. Together with waste processing companies, he wants to create a market for absorbent waste products.

Read the full article on the Brightlands Chemelot Campus website.

Image: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock