Dirty Diapers? Knowaste Will Turn Them Into Roofing Material

Photo: miguelb (Flickr / Creative Commons)

For those of us who wince every time a dirty diaper is discarded, take heart: Canadian company Knowaste can now transform those soiled, disposable nappies into roofing material. That's right, billions of baby-poop gems and even adult 'accidents' due to incontinence, are ripe for the picking and destined for our roofs, thanks to a process that transforms diaper waste into plastic pellets, which can then be made into roofing tiles and tubing. According to Gizmodo, Knowaste, which has branches in the UK, Canada and the United States, plans to open five new processing plants in the UK during the next four years. Each plant will be able to handle 36,000 tons of so-called "absorbent hygiene products" (AHP) annually -- all of which amounts to one-fifth of the UK's total diaper waste, and a reduction of 110,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

As company videos show, the process involves collecting dirty diapers from nursing homes, childcare centers and hospitals via special bins, transporting them to processing centers where they are washed, milled into a sludge that is then dried and fired into plastic pellets. The resulting extruded tiles made from these pellets are so sturdy that they can withstand quite a bit of force.

Image: Screengrab from Knowaste video

Though there's no way to currently pick diapers up from homes, the company plans to expand its services to domestic consumers in the future. Till then, from buying greener diapers, switching to reusable or even composting them, there's plenty of ways to reduce the footprint caused by toxin-laden disposable diapers, even for the busy parent.

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Tags: Diapers | Recycled Building Materials | Recycled Consumer Goods

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