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The cloth versus disposable debate has a new facet to be added to the conversation. What if those disposable, aka landfill, diapers were upcycled into a useful product? UK company Knowaste thinks they have found the solution.
Triple Pundit reports:
UK-based company Knowaste claims that they are “world’s first provider of a recycling solution for nappies, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene (AHP) products” and I believe them. Who would have ever thought of turning used sanitary products into roofing material? According to their research, every year, in the UK alone, 80% of municipal waste goes to landfill. AHPs take 500 years to decompose when landfilled and a waste of recoverable material when incinerated.
Knowaste has also found that the use of disposable nappies has increased over the past 20 years. Each baby will use about 6000 diapers before it is potty trained. In the UK alone, 3 billion are used each year, contributing about half a million tonnes of waste. Because people are living longer, the use of adult incontinence diapers is also on a rise and 50% of nursing home residents in the UK suffer from incontinence. In the UK alone, 18 million women use sanitary protection which generate over 200,000 tonnes of waste per year.
Obviously, the used diapers and sanitary products are sterilized before being turned into products. Knowaste makes new products “such as roof tiles or plastic components and fibre based construction and commercial tubes” with the recycled diapers and hygiene products.
I still don’t think disposables are the solution, whether they are upcycled or not. If I had to do it all over again, I would focus on elimination communication in conjunction with cloth diapers.