The Anonymous Widower

Are Disposable Nappies A Wasted Resource?

I stated my views on disposable nappies in this post called Disposable Nappies, where this was the first sentence.

From a scientifically green point of view, in many places I’m against using disposable nappies, as they clog sewers, end up in landfill and I’ve even seen them in litter bins in parks. We used real nappies for all our three children in the seventies, washing them ourselves in a machine for the first and then using a nappy service for the last two.

But dirty nappies contain a lot of the ingredients, that can be used to make hydrocarbons.

This article from the Sunday Times in 2018 is entitled Syngas, The New Jet Fuel — Stinky Nappies And Coffee Cups.

These are the first two paragraphs of The Times article.

With their packed cabins and recycled air, long-haul passenger jets are the last place where you would want to encounter the whiff of a dirty nappy.

However, old nappies are to be used — along with other non-recyclable waste such as meal packaging and takeaway coffee cups — to power British Airways planes.

Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide and some carbon dioxide. Some countries without access to petroleum or diesel created syngas and then used the Fischer–Tropsch process to create the fuels they needed. The process doesn’t have a good reputation as the two main countries to use the process were Germany under the Nazis and South Africa during apartheid.

Why is the use of this process being revived to produce aviation biofuel or sustainable aviation fuel for British Airways?

According to Wikipedia, it can save between 20 and 98 % of carbon emissions compared to conventional jet fuel.

The same process can also make biodiesel for buses, trains and trucks

It’s certainly an area, where a lot of research is going on! Just type “syngas nappies” or “syngas diapers” into Google and you’ll get a lot of serious hits.

By my front door I have a well-designed blue bin.

This is for my food waste bin, which is collected once a week.

This page on the Hackney web site is entitled Food Waste Recycling, and this is said about where the food waste goes.

Food waste from households in Hackney is sent to an anaerobic digestion facility in south east England, where it’s turned into renewable energy to power homes and biofertiliser to be spread on local farmland to grow crops.

A similar bin of an appropriate size could be used for nappies.

The nappies would go to an appropriate recycling site, instead of down the toilet or into landfill.

 

 

July 4, 2021 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Our food waste is all composted on out allotment. With our eldest daughter disposable nappies were pretty useless, and anyway we had very little spare cash, so we used cloth nappies. Eventually, better ones became available, we had a little more money, and my hands were covered in painful eczema, and we use disposables for the last few months. I don’t believe in attempting to potty train until the child has an understanding of what is happening. My older daughter took 3 days, and my younger one 5 days. With the younger daughter, we used disposable nappies throughout. We couldn’t have afforded a nappy service – they were all based in very posh places and were much expensive than disposables. They were different to the modern ones – the inside bit of them didnt turn to little blobs of gel when the baby wet them.

    No modern nappies are suitable for flushing down a toilet, although some of the baby wipes are apparently. I never flushed them down the toilet though.

    Perhaps the main manufacturers of disposable nappies could have input into the funding of the recycling.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | July 4, 2021 | Reply


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