LIFE Project Cover Photo

Demonstration of improved environmental impact of absorbent hygiene products using a sustainable eco-technology

Reference: LIFE18 ENV/DE/000137 | Acronym: LIFE EcoCare

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The market for absorbent hygiene products (AHP), mainly feminine care items (pads, pantyliners) and baby care items products (nappies), is growing worldwide. The AHP sector expects to grow by 8% within the next four years and, because of a lack of recycling systems, it is also anticipated to be one of the waste categories with year on year growth. Europe accounts for over half of the worldwide AHP market, producing around 30 billion items per day. This makes AHP the third largest European consumer item in landfill: as much as 6.5% of the total European landfill and up to 30% of non-biodegradable waste.


OBJECTIVES

The overall aim of the project LIFE EcoCare is to demonstrate that the environmental impacts of AHP can be mitigated significantly by using a new eco-design technology. The project will build upon an eco-design developed in the LIFE CELSTAB project with a new feminine care pad product which has an absorbent core 10-25% smaller. It will use an engineered multilayer structure with high performing superabsorbent polymers, novel cellulose material and EU locally sourcedfibres. The project will explore how this technology can be used in other AHP products, like adult incontinence and baby nappies. Based on experience from LIFE CELSTAB, the product will use sustainable materials rather than fossil-derived substances as in todays AHP products.

The project will contribute to EU policy objectives including the circular economy package, the revised landfill Directive, the bioeconomy strategy and the 2050 low-carbon economy roadmap.


RESULTS

Expected results:

  • successfully demonstrate new sustainable and environmentally-friendly alternatives to state-of the-art products, which are highly competitive in terms of cost-efficiency, quality and performance;
  • lower raw material use thanks to a 10-25% reduction in the products volume;
  • reduced waste at the end of the products life by 10-25%;
  • a 5-15% reduction in greenhousegas emissions thanks to mass reduction, sustainable material use, reduced transport for landfill and local sourcing;
  • reduced resource consumption by saving 5-10% in fossil fuel and fossil-derived raw materials;
  • a prototype for additional AHP products using the same mass-produced technology, and prototype production of AHP products which are made with at least 75% sustainable materials.
  • ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE18 ENV/DE/000137
    Acronym: LIFE EcoCare
    Start Date: 01/08/2019
    End Date: 31/07/2022
    Total Budget: 2,560,673 €
    EU Contribution: 1,408,370 €
    Project Location:

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Procter & Gamble Service GmbH
    Legal Status: PCO
    Address: Sulzbacher Str. 40, 65824, Schwalbach am Taunus, Deutschland
    Contact Person: Christopher RENNISON-RAE
    Email: rennisonrae.c@pg.com
    Tel:
    Website: http://www.pg.com


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Municipal waste (including household and commercial)
    • GHG reduction in non EU ETS sectors
    • Savings

    KEYWORDS

    • waste recycling
    • recycling
    • consumer goods
    • climate change mitigation

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Directive 1999/31 - Landfill of waste (26.04.1999)
    • COM(2015)614 - "Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy" (02.12.2015)
    • COM(2011)112 - "A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050" (08.03.2011)

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