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July 11, 2012 at 3:31 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

From Pampers to Patio Furniture

By Laura Hogg More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the NatuREport Blog Series

As anyone who’s ever changed one will tell you, diapers are gross. Period. And when they’re of the disposable variety, they’re worse than gross – they’re incredibly wasteful, and clog up our landfills. In Scotland alone, a mind-blowing 450,000 diapers end up in a landfill every single day. All in the name of convenience.

Ahhh…convenience.

But Canadian company Knowaste (I see what they did there!) is trying to tone down that wastefulness by doing something kind of ingenious: recycling used diapers and feminine hygiene products.

Hey, I didn’t say it wasn’t a little bit gross.

Not to worry, germophobes – the used diapers will be completely sanitized. Knowaste uses advanced autoclave technology to sterilize the waste before grinding it up into fibers and plastic pellets that are used to make shingles, siding, benches, patio furniture, and just about any other item you could dream up. (Considering that this project essentially makes construction materials out of poopy diapers, it kind of gives new meaning to a certain colorful saying that my friend’s British father so eloquently rephrased as “to defecate rectangular building material.”)

Working on the next Chrysler Building?

While this program was previously only offered to institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, the company recently announced plans to expand to curbside pickup – causing green-minded moms to rejoice. Unfortunately, since it’s so young, the program is currently only available in the UK. But its impact will still be huge: even before expanding to homes, Knowaste’s hospital-and-nursing-home program would save 110,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Obviously, our goal should be to use less plastic and fewer disposable diapers anyway – but such a change isn’t going to happen overnight. In the meantime, this has the potential to be a great solution. Think about it: one day, you might work in a high-rise made out of your toddler’s diapers.

Just don’t think about it too hard.

What do you say, NatuREporters? Would you shingle your roof with used diapers?

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