Around the world, there is a total of 187 billion disposable diapers thrown each year. Sadly, this is one of the essentials of raising a child that isn't too easy to recycle. Unlike bottles, cardboards or cans, nappies are thrown away immediately after use, particularly because they always end up soiled.
Can you imagine how much trash is made out of all these soiled nappies? If they are not recycled or processed, they will all be dumped into a site and wait for years before they decay. Some of them are made out of too much plastic that they take a while before they rot. Sadly, some of these diapers don't get rotten at all.
But now, environmental engineers have found a way to recover the materials particularly the plastic ones contained in every diaper. In Treviso, Italy, a pilot plant has been built to focus on the recovery of these plastic elements in the diapers. The plant is backed-up by one of the world's leading producers of disposable diapers -- Procter and Gamble.
The goal of the plant is to collect all the soiled diapers through individual nappy bins that will be distributed to all parents of kids who are using disposable diapers. These bins will then be collected in a separate waste collection scheme and will be taken into the plant for processing. The smell of these nappies altogether is a concern. And that's why the first stage after the collection involves the proper storage of these dirty diapers.
After the collection process has been completed, the nappies are then put into a storage tank. This is where all the unwanted fumes are taken care of. It may come as a surprise but the nappies and its parts can be quite challenging to take apart. After the storage tank where the smell is dealt with, the nappies are exposed to extreme temperatures to help keep the parts apart.
The materials left behind after the third process are then worked up and shredded for separation. The idea of the heat is not only to help in the separation of materials, but to also ensure that there is no bacteria left. And then the next machine is to help separate the materials and put them into good use.
The engineers behind this new plant that transforms soiled nappies into reusable products is indeed another milestone in the goal to help save the environment. It may be a lone plant in Italy at the moment, but it will be helpful to spread out the knowledge of this plant and potentially encourage more countries to reconsider what they do with all the soiled nappies that they collect.
After all, these nappies may not come from your home, but its improper disposal can destroy the only planet in the universe where human life could thrive. If people can't give up the comfort and convenience of using disposable diapers then they might as well open the idea of having these recycled.