Soiled Diaper Composting is a dad-run diaper composting service currently operating in Calgary. This article is by co-owner Mark Arishenkoff.
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 three to four 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).
While cloth diapering is a viable option, one that continues to gain popularity thanks to the advocacy of influencers like Maman Loup, we know that we’ll never see 100% of parents make the switch to reusables.
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 three to four years (that’s 107,500,000 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 somewhere in that first landfill 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.
But now the technology that allows for the composting of disposable diapers has arrived in Canada. This tech has been used places like the UK, New Zealand, Australia and others for quite some time with great success. The process shreds the diapers with other organic materials and composts them together in a matter of ten days rather than sitting in a landfill for 400 years. There is no leachate produced in the in-vessel unit, and the material is kept at a constant temperature to kill deadly pathogens, creating 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 are choosing to make diapers clean again for your baby—in more ways than one!
Not in Calgary? Start making a stink! Soiled Diaper Composting has an end-goal of expanding across Canada, but the process starts with you. Reach out to your political representatives and let them know that composting diapers is something you want to see in your city!
Think the city of Calgary should be subsidizing diaper composting? After all, it would make a HUGE impact on our current waste diversion goals! Write to your ward councillor!
Soiled Diaper Composting in the news: