The possibilities for the management of disposable diapers in municipal solid waste have been studied. An in-depth revision of literature about generation, composition and current treatment options for disposable diapers showed that the situation for these wastes is not clearly defined in developed recycling societies. As a promising technology, composting of diapers with source-separated organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) was studied at full scale to understand the process performance and the characteristics of the compost obtained when compared with that of composting OFMSW without diapers. The experiments demonstrated that the composting process presented similar trends in terms of evolution of routine parameters (temperature, oxygen content, moisture and organic matter content) and biological activity (measured as respiration index). In relation to the quality of both composts, it can be concluded that both materials were identical in terms of stability, maturity and phytotoxicity and showed no presence of pathogenic micro-organisms. However, compost coming from OFMSW with a 3% of disposable diapers presented a slightly higher level of zinc, which can prevent the use of large amounts of diapers mixed with OFMSW.
Waste Management & Research
Colón, J., Ruggieri, L., Sánchez, A., González, A., Puig, I. (2011) Possibilities of composting disposable diapers with municipal solid wastes. Waste Management & Research, 29: 249-529.