The Importance of Composting Diapers

The Importance of Composting Diapers

We had an incredible time at the Calgary Baby and Tot show this fall.  Just in case you missed visiting us at the show, we thought that we would share the article featured in the show guide on why composting diapers is so important.  With the newly proposed "pay as you go" garbage system the City of Calgary is working on, keeping your diapers out of your black bins will become even more important.  You can check out the full CBC article here.  Hopefully this little article will also satisfy many of those interested in more information on the composting process and machine.  So here goes:

Now that your baby has arrived, your heart is overflowing with love for this small bundle of joy before you. You will soon come to realize that, along with love, there is something else that will be overflowing for the next 3-4 years: diapers. While we are all aware that babies need diapers to keep everything neat and tidy, the magnitude of the number of diapers that a single child will use is lost on most parents (somewhere between early morning feedings and teething).

In Calgary alone, there are approximately 86,000 diaper-aged children. Each child uses approximately 5,000 diapers before being potty trained. Doing the quick math, there are 430,000,000 diapers headed to Calgary landfills over the next 3-4 years alone (that’s 110,000,000 per year). Holy crap! While this number alone is mind-boggling, the real problem lies in what makes a diaper great: their disposable nature also makes them terrible for the environment. A disposable diaper takes approximately 400 years to decompose in a landfill, thus the very first disposable diaper is still sitting in that first landfill, somewhere, and will be there until 2348!

As the third largest disposable consumer item, diapers are not only rapidly filling our landfills, but also causing subsequent damage to our environment through leachate. Despite being “space spoiled”, building new landfills is costly and not a viable option. Recently, in Canada, the technology has arrived that allows for the composting of disposable diapers.  This tech has been used places like the U.K, New Zealand, Australia, and more for quite some time with great success.  The process shreds the diapers with other organic materials and composts them together in a matter of 10 days rather than sitting in a landfill for 400+ years.  There is no leachate produced in the in-vessel unit, the material is kept at a constant temperature to kill deadly pathogens, but creates a perfect environment for composting bacteria to work their magic.  Best of all, the inorganic parts of the diaper are screened away and sent for further processing (recycling, pelletizing, and waste-to-energy), leaving only useable, moisture retentive, organic compost!

Moving forward, the prudent choice for our children and our planet is to consider using alternative methods of dealing with this ever growing, stinky problem. By choosing to compost your diapers rather than sending them to the landfill, you will be choosing to make diapers clean again for your baby – in more ways than one!