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composting disposable diapers?  RSS feed

 
                                  
Posts: 26
Location: central kansas
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Can you compost disposable adult diapers?  I take care of my mom who has alzheimers and one problem is incontinence.  We use several adult diapers a day.  I know I could use cloth diapers and save money and the enviroment but washing them is one thing I just can't bring myself to do.  ops:  So I wondered about composting or maybe vermicomposting.  I wouldn't use the result on the garden or orchard but I do have a field we grow crops on where I could scatter it.
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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It depends on the diapers.  If they are bio-degradable then maybe it would work for you.  However most disposable diapers tend to have plastics in them as the outer moisture proof layer and that won't compost unless it is one of the special bio-degradable products that is designed to rot away.

I doubt you want to be spreading shreds of plastic around your fields.

If you already humanure compost and the diapers are bio-degradable, then I will say yes you can do it.  If you don't already humanure compost, then I don't really recommend adding human waste to compost unless you are a skilled hot composter.  Most backyard compost isn't managed well enough to take a no-no like human waste but if you are skilled enough at composting that you can put many of the so-called compost no-nos like meat into the compost and it doesn't cause a bad smell or attract dogs or raccoons then perhaps you are composting hot enough to take care of some human poo too.
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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My mom went through the same thing, hang in there.    I agree with TCLynx and would add that prescription drugs that pass through the body are a concern also.
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Well if the compost isn't going into the veggie garden, I'm not going to worry much about drugs.  (I figure compost is a better way to dispose of most anything rather than dumping down a water toilet to be sent back to the drinking water supplies.)

But plastic doesn't compost and if you are not willing to launder cloth diapers, I kinda doubt you will want to pick though the finished compost for all the bits of plastic that don't compost.
 
                                  
Posts: 26
Location: central kansas
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I've composted feeder lambs--60-80 pounds-- with no problems.  Trick was to make sure I had enough wood chips and straw for a good cover.  I could probably use a pitchfork to rake through the finished compost to get the majority of the plastic.  I've shoveled Heaven-only-knows how many tons of animal poo in my life and I'm too squeamish to wash a diaper.  Go figure.
 
                              
Posts: 461
Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Ya might want to research if there are any bio-degradable adult diapers on the market because it might be more than just the outer plastic that doesn't degrade well.
 
                                  
Posts: 26
Location: central kansas
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Very true.  I'm not sure what all is in one.  I've not found any biodegradable diapers on the internet though have done several searches
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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The polyacrylates used to absorb urine are not particularly biodegradable, but they are widely used as a soil amendment, because the water they absorb remains available to plants.

Unfortunately, I think most of the diaper formulations contain sodium, but unless salt is a major problem, it will probably be OK in the soil.

Sodium polyacrylate in action, in diapers it's mixed with paper fluff to distribute moisture better.
 
Burra Maluca
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Have you thought of using a biodegradable nappy liner to catch most of the poop?  You could easily compost that, and maybe then when you discover that the diapers stay cleaner you might be happier at the thought of washing cloth diapers. 

I have a similar situation in that I'm caring for a totally bedridden relative.  He doesn't use diapers but I collect all the poop on paper, use degradable wipes and paper towel to clean him, and compost the lot in with the humanure.  I also use washable mattress protectors and a sheath catheter to collect all the pee, which collects in a 5 litre plastic tub next to the bed and is also added to the compost heaps. 
 
Jordan Lowery
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have you looked into black soldier fly composting?
 
                                  
Posts: 26
Location: central kansas
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Burra--the nappy liner is in idea I'll have to look into.  Hadn't thought of that.  Soil--That's an idea I hadn't thought of either.  Would the maggots be safe for chickens to eat?  Mom does take a few meds--head and heart.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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not 100% sure if the meds will transfer to the BSF then to the chicken then to you. but chickens LOVE black soldier flys.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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goodshephrd wrote:Would the maggots be safe for chickens to eat?  Mom does take a few meds--head and heart.


What are the generic names of those meds?

We'll at least be able to get you started as to how people metabolize them or whether (and by what mechanism) they're excreted intact, as well as their effects on insects & poultry and how biodegradable they (and/or their metabolytes) are.
 
                                  
Posts: 26
Location: central kansas
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Namenda and aricept and omeprazole and triam/hctz.  Thanks for the help.
 
Dennis Clover
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i wonder if the technology now is available for bio-disposable diapers.
always feel guilty using these one-off use for my babies.
i mean i go through 3 or 4 per day!
it would be great if they are bio-disposable because the next phrase is adult diapers and oh god, thats like 20 years of using it
 
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