Nov 21, 2009

Science Scene - Trash Talk

Did you know the average baby goes through 5,000 to 6,000 dirty diapers by the time he or she is potty trained? That accounts for nearly one ton of waste per child. Although disposable diapers are convenient, they also create a burden on our landfills. Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose. And untreated human waste poses another environmental concern – the potential to contaminate groundwater resources.
So imagine being able to divert thousands of tons of dirty diapers from landfills on an annual basis. That is exactly what Knowaste will soon be doing. Beginning in May 2010, Knowaste Ltd., will open a new recycling facility in the United Kingdom.

Here’s how it works. Once the soiled products are collected and transported to the Knowaste facility, the products are sent to a shredder that breaks them apart. They are washed, sanitized, deactivated and mechanically separated into plastic components or organic residue. The plastic is then recycled into a variety of products including shoe insoles, vinyl siding, wallpaper, bicycle helmets and roofing tiles, to name a few.  Non-recyclable waste is converted into green energy, which will power the facility or will be sold to the national grid. The water used during the process is treated and reused again.

Established in 1989, Knowaste recycles other absorbent hygiene products besides diapers – bed-liners, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products. The company’s main recycling facility is located in Toronto, Canada.

Here is a link to the full article at


  1. What a great idea ... just not in my insole, please.

  2. What a great plan. If only we would think of what to do with waste products BEFORE we start marketing them. Oh wait, I think we do. We just don't follow through. I remember when I was a freshman in high school (sometime in the 70s). We saw a program on TV about a total energy plant that took household trash and ran it through a recycling, reclaiming, process that resulted in the burning of the unclaimable parts to produce electricity. I thought what a great idea. In my naivete, I suspected that these plants would be springing up everywhere, just talking our trash and converting it into energy and reusable matter. We all know how that story turned out. I never heard about those plants again. Somebody won out in that process. And it wasn't truth, justice, and the American way, either. It just infuriates me to think of the many ways we went wrong. But I digress. That's a great story, Ken. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I like SNL's idea of Edible Pampers. LOL

    Seriously, I think this is a terrible problem. I'm honestly glad I never had kids so I didn't have to deal with this dilemma or contribute to the problem. This seems like a great solution.

  4. i feel even greener for not procrating now- data really does support my claim that i am helping the environment!


  5. I think that is great. As long as I remain ignorant about where my recycled products come from, I'm all for them. Seriously, that is a great thing, and I hope it spreads to our country as well.

  6. woohoo!
    wow Ken I think that this is totally awesome!
    I ccan't beleive that they can separate it out so well!
    how cool!


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