Knowaste marketing director, Lynnette Pierce and Steve McKenna, director of Mailbox Mouldings International celebrate the first Small Planet roof tile.

From nappy to roof tile

Published:  03 August, 2009

BIRMINGHAM: Leading developer of recycling technologies for nappies and personal care products Knowaste has launched a new sustainable roofing solutions venture.

The new company, SmallPlanet Building Products, will manufacture global roofing solutions made from recycled plastic. Initially, this recycled plastic will come from a variety of sources but the ultimate aim is to use the plastic recyclates produced at the UK's first Knowaste nappy recycling plant scheduled to open early in 2010 in Birmingham.

This plant will process and sanitise nappies and adult incontinence products, resulting in two outputs:  plastic and cellulose organic residue for green energy.  The plastic will be recreated into a variety of products, including plastic cladding, decking and roof tiles.

SmallPlanet will market and distribute roofing products to building contractors, roofing supply companies, homebuilders and architects and DIY, hardware and gardening stores.  Long-term plans will be for SmallPlanet to represent other manufacturers of recycled building materials such as decking and siding, thereby extending the product range.

Bill Knoupe, General Manager of SmallPlanet Building Products Ltd, said: "The construction industry is a significant user of material resources and energy, consuming 420 million tonnes of construction products in the UK every year.

"There is a real opportunity to open up a new market in construction, offering sustainable products that come with clear benefits for the building and housing sector, which are increasingly being asked to improve sustainability credentials.  Once the tiles have been commercialised they will offer the construction industry a new sustainable opportunity and quick win to meet maximum recycled content requirements while also reinforcing their green credentials.

"Our aim is to fill the gap for quality recycled building materials, made from products whose disposal would otherwise go to landfill and in doing so, drive the successful introduction of recycled roofing materials in the United Kingdom."

Roy Brown, president and chief executive of Knowaste added: "More than 750 000 tonnes of nappy waste is disposed of in the UK each year – a figure that highlights the importance of developing alternative uses for post-consumer nappies. There is an obvious potential for synergy between the material waste produced by industry and householders and the raw materials required to produce construction products. We see this as a win-win opportunity."

SmallPlanet roofing materials will be manufactured by Mailbox Mouldings in Stalybridge, Cheshire. The environmentally friendly production process utilises recycled materials that are both pliable and durable to produce the roof tiles that will be available in a standard black colour or with an additional natural stone granulate in Forest Green, Granite Grey, Traditional Red and Broadleaf Brown.  

The tiles are UV resistant, colourfast and non-corrosive and their ultra-light weight nature allows for easy installation. The design also makes the materials easy to ply, saw and cut and provide good thermal insulation and sound absorption. The tiles are suitable for a wide range of buildings and purposes including non traditional and traditional housing, pre-fabricated and industrial buildings, over-roofing of asbestos, felt or industrial sheeting, conversion of flat to pitched roofs, sheds, conservatories, garages and stables.

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