Published on September 30th, 2014 | by Becky Striepe
2 Diaper Recycling Solutions Offer Hope for Our Landfills
If you’re an environmentally-minded parent, you know that disposable diapers are a big problem. They are piling up in our landfills where they don’t biodegrade. Diaper recycling would a long way toward leaving our kiddos the clean, healthy planet that we want them to inherit.
I recently came across two really interesting diaper recycling solutions that might just help reduce waste without parents giving up the convenience of disposables.
Obviously, the most sustainable solution when it comes to reducing diaper trash is to not create any in the first place. And you can certainly go that route! You can purchase or make your own cloth diapers. You can even make your own baby wipes.
Here in the Striepe house, we do a combination of disposables and reusables. We get cloth diapers from a diaper service, but we use paper diapers for overnights and nap time. My son sleeps a LOT longer in a paper diap, and any new parent will tell you that sleep is a priority for both you and your baby.
I feel guilty every time I toss one of those paper diapers into the trash, so these diaper recycling schemes gave me a little bit of hope.
1. Diaper Composting with Mushrooms
No, for real. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg at our sister site Sustainablog recently wrote about a team of researchers in Mexico who “sterilized diapers containing only liquid waste, ground them up, and added lignin to create a substrate for growth. They then added commercially-prepared mushroom spores. Over a 2 1/2 – 3 month period, the mushrooms reduced the diapers’ weight and volume by about 80%. The resulting mushrooms are also – technically – edible, though the researchers don’t see this as a viable means of growing the fungus for human consumption.”
2. Diaper Recycling Plant
Over at Ecopreneurist, Priti Ambani talked about a UK recycling plant for diapers that opened in the UK in 2011. She says that, “Knowaste’s recycling process is the world’s first, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective solution to meeting the global challenge of disposing Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHPs): diapers, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products.”
Of course, neither of those solutions is available to me here in Atlanta right now. But it gives me a little bit of hope that maybe our kids won’t be digging themselves out of a future made of diaper trash.
I’d love to hear from other parents out there! Do you use cloth diapers? Paper? A combo? How much would you love to find a diaper recycling plant for the disposables that you use?