This study was carried out jointly with the Department of Chemical Engineering School of Engineering at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and it was supported by the Town Council of Lliçà d’Amunt, the Association of municipalities (Mancomunitat) La Plana and the Waste Agency of Catalonia (ARC). The study analyse the feasibility of using compostable nappies as an alternative to conventional disposable ones. The project objectives are:
- To introduce as a pilot study, compostable nappies in a nursery from Lliçà d’Amunt (Barcelona, Spain) for 15 days, to assess how they work and to do an specific collection and treatment.
- To assess the biodegradability of the compostable nappies and their applicability as a by-product. This biodegradability analysis is carried out at lab-scale and as a full-scale experiment.
- To assess the potential market for the commonly marketing of compostable nappies.
- In different collection systems, to assess the technical and economical feasibility of specific collection and treatment service for compostable nappies. To determine its potential environment improvement.
The main conclusion of the pilot study is that, in its use in nurseries, compostable nappies offer benefits very similar than conventional disposable ones. In the same time laboratory composting experiments were carried out with two commercial compostable nappies. It was detected very few differences between both. With the compostable nappies used during de pilot study were carried out a full scale composting process with organic fraction of municipal solid wastes (OFMSW) in the composting plant ofMancomunitat La Plana. The obtained results confirm that the composting process of compostable nappies with OFMSW follows up the normal evolution, giving quality compost without problems with pathogenic content or heavy metals. These results could suggest the addition of these nappies to OFMSW. However, uncertainties arise when giving a message about the appropriate destination of this waste because doesn’t exist any certification which allows knowing if all compostable nappies available in the market are really compostable.