Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, has become the first company in the world to utilise nappy recycling technology in the construction of infrastructure for its new range of Platinum Lodges, using 60,000 disposable nappies.
With an accumulation of up to half a million nappies at the resort each year, the Green Key accredited business decided to explore ways to recover the usable fibres from nappies and put them back into the resort as part of its commitment to a circular economy on site.
The ‘path project’ is the company’s latest innovation where recyclable materials from nappies are used to form the paths leading to its new £24m platinum lodge range.
Bluestone collaborated with Wales-based company Nappicycle, who are pioneering the technology.
The nappies are cleansed before the useable fibres from the plastic are separated and used to reinforce the asphalt, replacing traditional materials typically.
Asphalt is the material used to create surfaces for roads and pavements and is usually transported in from Europe and beyond. While one hundred percent of the recovered plastic that comes from the nappies is recycled.
The team spearheading the process believe that this ground-breaking venture could also be widely adopted in roads across the UK to further reduce carbon emissions associated with laying and repairing roads and pavements.
Marten Lewis, Director of sustainability at Bluestone, said: “Every year, around 140 million disposable nappies are binned in Wales – let alone across the UK. They’re a single-use plastic and, if landfilled, can take hundreds of years to degrade. Recovering and finding a new application for them has huge environmental benefits.
“Driving forward our ethos of a ‘Free Range Future’ is key for us, and what we’re doing here is a huge achievement in our steps towards our goal. The process not only reduces waste disposal but cuts overall carbon emissions, making for a more durable surface and creating sustainable jobs. And, no, there is no smell.”
In May 2023, Bluestone opened its first phase of the new Platinum Lodges to its guests, built using sustainable construction practices to meet the resort’s responsible business credentials. Along with features like air source heat pumps, each lodge also boasts a walkway made from 60,000 used nappies.
The 5* resort, which employs over 800 people and injects more than £7m a year to back into the Welsh economy, has been paving the way for a more sustainable future since opening in 2008. They’ve planted close to one million plants and trees, send 8000 litres of cooking oil every year to be made into biodiesel, and are building an 11-hectre solar farm to support the long-term viability of Bluestone.
A trio of Welsh suppliers came together to implement the path project at Bluestone, including SJ Roberts, the main contractors building the new lodges, GD Harries, the asphalt suppliers, along with spearheads of the nappy technology, Nappicycle.
Rob Poyer, Managing Director of Natural UK and NappiCycle, said: ” Our aim is to challenge ourselves and be disruptive in what we do in the recycling industry – and we found that the recoverable materials found in nappies creates long-lasting, and more durable, asphalt.
“It has been a pleasure to work with a company that takes sustainability as seriously as Bluestone, and while this project shows, once again, that waste can become a valuable resource, it also demonstrates the benefits of a collaborative approach. Creative working relationships like this will form a vital part of Wales’ progress toward Net Zero.”
Mr Lewis added: “We are incredibly proud to be leading the way in commercial recycling. Using products like the nappy-based asphalt, we are able to reduce our carbon footprint by diverting nappies from general waste and reducing the need to re-lay paths; saving money for the business and supporting the local green technology sector; and demonstrating how innovation and partnerships can help create a more sustainable future for Wales and beyond.”
You can read more about Bluestone’s commitment to sustainability here.
The first Platinum Lodges are open to the public now, and bookings can be made via Bluestone’s website: https://www.bluestonewales.com/resort.