A hybrid diaper system that combines the comfort of the modern cloth diaper pants and the practical side of single use inserts that turn into black humus, minimizing waste and wastewater
Reusable overpants with a waterproof inner pouch that can be replaced if necessary. A disposable insert is placed in the inner pouch, which do not contain plastics or other non-compostable components.
There is a large selection of overpants from different manufacturers: here the cloth diaper systems play an important role, but without the cloth inserts!
The focus of the project "Nachwachsende Windeln" (Regenerative Diapers) is on the inserts: to regenerate the valuable contents of baby excreta, to avoid waste and waste water as well as to support the parents to develop "diaper-free" children.
ABOUT THE LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT of conventional disposable and cloth diapers
From a scientific point of view, the environmental balance of disposable diapers and cloth diapers is roughly the same: considering the raw material and energy requirements during the manufacturing process as well as during transport, use and disposal (see studie by the British Environmental Protection Agency: Life Cycle Assesment of Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK, 2008).
Why is that so? Apart from the important advantages of cloth diapers, such as no plastics and super absorbers content or better skin compatibility, cloth diapers nevertheless have the disadvantage of higher water and energy consumption:
cotton needs a lot of water for its production, as long distance transport,
washing at home
to treat the waste water at the the sewage treatment plant: grit trap, oil trap, 5 purification stages, digestion and depending on the heavy metal load, the educt "dried sewage sludge granulate" is incinerated in a waste incineration plant or a cement plant.
Disposable diaper: waste of resources
A baby is changed around 6000 times in 2.5 years = 1,2 t of waste to be incinerated
The average used disposable weighs in at 200g
Disposables diapers make up 5% - 45% of the domestic waste stream
Parents bear costs for diapers and waste disposal
Disposable diapers production:
Long transport routes
Composites: Super absorber polymeres, Polypropylene, Low Density Polyethylene, Fluff pulp, Adhesives
Due to the super absorber the child feels dry and may not feel the compelling need to be changed. There is way less motivation learning to understand the own corporal needs and to go to the toilette. Therefore the age of going diaper-free ranges from 2,5 up to 4 years.