There are lots of babies in the world which means lots of diapers. The shift from cloth to nappies began in earnest with the introduction of Pampers in the early 1960s. Over the years, the percentage of disposable diapers in municipal landfills has grown. Their use has become a dilemma for environmentally conscious parents who love the convenience and efficiency of disposable diapers, yet at the same time do not want to contribute to huge pileups in landfills. In the most recent years, there have been a number of proposals to ban disposable diapers from the market.
The good news is that EnviroComp, a New Zealand nappy disposal service is partnering with Eneform, a technology company to turn these nappies into oil and gas product. Eneform is already in the business of biofuels, creating oil and gas product from tires and industrial plastics. EnviroComp first attempted to decompose the nappies, supplying customers with special composting bags. But, the composting bags themselves blocked the decomposition. It will take until 2018 before the process is fully online, but EnviroCamp and environmentalists will soon be able to celebrate their dream of making nappies green.
Andrew Simecock, CEO of Eneform explained that each of the three waste products will be processed using a unique method known as pyrolysis (See Video), whereby the waste passes through three different heated tubes that are under the pressure of a vacuum. The result is the production of oil, char and gas that is similar in property to liquefied petroleum gas. The production facility itself will be fueled by the oil and gas that comes from the product, making the entire project green. Karen Ashby initiated EnviroComp in 2009. They have facilities throughout New Zealand and also in the UK.