In the US alone, there are more than 7.5 billion pounds of disposable diapers sent to landfills yearly. Diapers are somewhat of a middle ground in the composting community.
Regardless of opposing opinions, the truth remains that a huge amount of household waste comes in the form of diapers.
When done correctly, composting diapers can be a quick way of creating nutritious compost, and it does not have any unpleasant odor. It also has numerous benefits for any garden, given the diaper’s contents.
What You Need to Know About Composting Diapers
Firstly, diapers contain polyacrylate crystals.
These often sell at the garden center for $10 or $20 per pound, but they can be used for free when composting diapers.
These crystals actually retain water. Other compounds include cellulose fiber, which comes from trees, so it can be composted anyway. Then, there is added nitrogen as a result of being used.
There are a few good reasons why people should compost diapers.
Firstly, it reduces the amount of household trash going to the landfill, which leads to reduced carbon footprint.
Another benefit is that it has good qualities as compost, so it can be used for any garden.
It is important to understand that you cannot compost the entire diaper. Only the filling needs to go into compost since the rest of the diaper is non-biodegradable – which means that it will not decompose.
As a result, you need to compost the inner side of the diaper and throw away the outside layers. Only wet diapers can be composted, and the other ones need to be disposed of as usual.
Here is a quick video showing you how to compost wet diapers:
How to Do it with Safety and Precautions
Of course, using diapers in compost raises safety concerns, so it’s best not to use the compost on food crops and plants.
Examples for use include trees, flowers, and the lawn, with the exclusion of fruits and vegetables.
It might not be possible to have a compost heap of 100% diaper filling. The maximum ratio should be 50% diaper filling and 50% other organic matter, such as leaves, kitchen scraps, and other garden materials.
As you need to tear the diaper, it is best to use gloves. Hold the diaper with one hand from the front side, as the back part has a tough elastic that can hardly be torn apart.
Find the third part of the filling, grab it, and use the other hand to tear it downwards.
If this is the right place, it should break with ease all the way down. As this will release all the filling, it’s a good idea to do this right on top of the compost pile.
The remainder of the diaper needs to be thrown away.
After this, make sure you use a shovel to spread the diaper filling evenly. It is best to save a few days’ worth of wet diapers in order to get an even layer.
Mix it lightly with the top part of the compost. One word of caution is that the diaper filling is highly absorbent. If the compost pile is dry, it’s best to quickly sprinkle a bit of water on top of the heap.
Finally, cover the filling with ½ inch of soil or compost. This will stop the smell, preventing insects or animals.