So you've got a kid in diapers, you decided to go the disposable route, and you wonder to yourself, "can I be a bit greener, and get something useful out of the bargain as well?"
Composting your kid's diapers is easy, fast, it doesn't smell when done correctly, and it makes great compost due to the filling of the diaper !
Diapers contain the same magic water-retaining polyacrylate crystals that make regular potting soil into that really expensive potting soil... polyacrylate crystals sell at the garden center for about $10-$20 per pound! The remaining filling is cellulose fiber, which is basically ground up trees that you would have happily composted anyway. And of course, there's extra nitrogen, courtesy of your kid.
Other good reasons for doing this:
- Reduces the volume of your trash (if you pay by the size of your trash can, you can reduce the volume of the diapers by about half)
- Reduce space used in the landfill
- Reduce the energy used to haul those diapers to the landfill
- It really does make good compost
Got diapers? Read on!
Step 1: What We're Going to Do
Firstly, you can't compost the whole diaper. Only the filling is compostable - the rest is not biodegradable. If you try to compost the whole diaper you'll end up with a dirty sack of mush. So we're going to compost the filling and throw away the outer layers.
I only compost wet diapers. The poopy ones should just be disposed of the way you dispose of them now.
For safety, I wouldn't use the diaper compost on food crops. If you know what you're doing it is possible to compost things in a way that destroys harmful bacteria, but it's beyond the scope of this instructable. So if you're composting diapers, the compost becomes for non-food crops only, OK? Your flowers, trees and lawn will love you, and you can find some other compost to use for your vegetables and fruits.
Do this outside, over your compost heap. If you do it inside you'll get bits of wet diaper stuff everywhere.
I'm assuming you already have a compost pile. Mine is composed of about 50% other organic matter (kitchen scraps, leaves, other materials recycled from the garden) and 50% diaper filling right now. I'm not sure if you could do this with 100% diaper filling.
Wear gloves. A dustmask wouldn't be a bad idea either, the insides of the diaper seem to be made of pretty find material.
I usually save up 2-3 days of wet diapers and compost them all at once.