Economy

Eco-friendly nappies “made in” Hauts-de-France



“Today, 90% of the approximately 3 billion diapers worn by French babies are produced outside France: it’s an ubiquitous situation”, exhibits Geoffroy Blondel de Joigny, one of the two co-founders and directors of Naturopera. On October 18, this impactful French SME inaugurated its diaper factory in the Alouette business park, in Bully-les-Mines (Pas-de-Calais). In this gray and pink building with a surface area of ​​19,000 m2, a first production line, 60 meters long, will produce 800 diapers per minute from mid-November, with the objective of producing 200 million per year. . A second line will be installed in 2024.

Three factories in France

For thirty years, no diaper factory had seen the light of day in France. Only two factories still manufacture it: BB Distribe, in the Vosges, and Celluloses de Brocéliande, in Morbihan, under their own brand and for other groups, just like Naturopera. Does the establishment of this third factory mark the beginning of the reindustrialization of this large market of non-food basic necessities? “Bully-les-Mines is becoming one of the capitals of diaper manufacturing in France”rejoices in any case François Lemaire, mayor of this commune of Pas-de-Calais of 12,000 inhabitants.

If the co-managers of Naturopera announce the creation of 100 jobs within two years and 40 by the end of the year, there are currently around twenty employees who are starting to work on the production site.

They were recruited with the help of Pôle emploi, the local Mission, the Maison de l’emploi, the Lens-Liévin urban community (Call) or the town hall of Bully-les-Mines. “We gradually get to know this machine which is impressive, even if there are things that I knew”, says Laurent Lecoq, a 49-year-old versatile operator who completed a two-month training course in hydraulics, electricity, pneumatics and line management with the Afpi (1) of Hénin-Beaumont. Like other new employees, this former Brigdestone traveled to Italy to discover the machine on which he will now work, first in “two-eight”.

Washable or disposable?

Created in 2013 by two childhood friends, Geoffroy Blondel de Joigny and Kilian O’Neill, Naturopera specializes in organic, natural or ecological hygiene products, 90% made in France. After Tidoo, its nappies brand sold in organic stores, Naturopera launched Carryboo for supermarkets, before developing a range of feminine hygiene (Tadam) and household products. The new factory is the first in France to produce 100% ecological nappies.

For this duo of entrepreneurs who did not invest in cloth diapers (but who developed washable menstrual panties), the ecological disposable diaper is the future: “We follow consumer expectations, but the share of washable diapers has never exceeded 5%”, says Kilian O’Neill, adding that, according to Ademe, the ecological impact of disposable diapers is no worse than that of washable diapers.

The Environment and Energy Management Agency has not settled the question, the two categories of layers each having different impacts on the environment, in terms of waste, water consumption and ‘energy. “Changing the way we consume requires changing our production methods. And we, French SMEs, are little hummingbirds”continues Kilian O’Neill, quoting Pierre Rabhi.

The return of diapers in Hauts-deFrance

The impact company, certified BioEd (sustainable bio-enterprise) and PME + (the label for SMEs committed to people, employment and the environment) intends to continue its efforts to respect the planet throughout the manufacturing process. of its wood cellulose layers. The Bully-les-Mines plant is thus the first in Europe to use a system that recovers the air present in the machine to heat the building in winter. In summer, the air will be tempered by the spraying of water. This system should make it possible to divide electricity consumption by 10 compared to a conventional plant.

For this reindustrialization and relocation project, Naturopera has received financial support from the State as part of the France Relance plan, from the Hauts-de-France Region, from Call or from BPI France, and also from private players. (the Regain 340 fund managed by Turenne Groupe, Société Générale and CIC).

In any case, the establishment of this new factory signals the return of nappies in Hauts-de-France: we remember Peaudouce, whose headquarters were in Linselles (North) and which took the full brunt, from the end of the 1980s, the Pampers shock, flagship brand of the American giant Procter & Gamble.



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