Dirty Disposable Diapers Could Be Added To Concrete To Make Buildings ‘Cleaner’
By Alexa Heah, 19 May 2023
Think of a disposable diaper, and the word “clean” isn’t one that often pops up. This could soon change, according to a study published in Scientific Reports by scientists at the University of Kitakyushu, Japan, who believe recycled nappies could make concrete more eco-friendly.
Rather horrifyingly, diapers make up 2% to 7% of the total volume of waste worldwide. These commodities, which are often discarded without a second thought, usually end up in incinerators or landfills.
According to Le Monde, this isn’t the first time bright minds have looked into the uses of recycled diapers. Previously, a study in the Indian Journal of Science and Technology reported researchers in Malaysia used the absorbent polymer in diapers to improve the viscosity of concrete.
Now, the latest solution comes up with the proportion of diapers needed to help improve the quality of concrete, which could one day be used to construct the load-bearing structures of monuments, apartment buildings, and more.
For a house spanning 36 square meters (387.5 square feet), the authors found that waste from recycled nappies could replace up to 10% of the sand needed to make the concrete used to build columns and beams in the three-story estate without diminishing any strength.
In the case of a single-story house, the proportion of the sand that diapers could replace rose to a staggering 27%. Overall, pull-ups could stand in for up to 8% of the concrete and mortar used in building materials to construct such a home—or the equivalent of 1.7 sq m (18.2 sq ft) of waste.
[via Le Monde and Tech Xplore, cover image via Annakazantseva | Dreamstime.com]
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