Composting our products
A high level of heat is needed to safely destroy the bacteria and pathogens associated with human waste. This means our nappies can only be composted at home if you have a hot compost system. The natural heat generated by a standard compost bin outside is unfortunately not sufficient to kill all the nasty bacteria and make the compost safe to use.
80% of a Mama Bamboo nappy is biodegradable. The elastic, tabs and ruching sections are not biodegradable and will not decompose, so will need to be removed before using your lovely rich compost in the garden. They are easier to remove before you begin the composting process. Simply tear these bits off before popping the rest of the nappy into your compost bin.
A national problem
If you cannot hot compost at home, our nappies need to be put into general waste. Although our nappies can be composted, sadly no English council currently offers a kerbside collection service for composting nappies on a large scale. Some Welsh councils offer a nappy recycling service, but this is not available in the rest of the UK.
The lack of a council-run nappy recycling service horrifies and frustrates the team here at Mama Bamboo HQ. As a result, we are working closely with UCL (University College London) on a research grant to investigate and promote the widespread implementation of council-facilitated waste management for bioplastics and compostable AHP (Absorbent Hygiene Products).
Numerous research projects are currently underway in Germany, Belgium, and the USA. The UK is a little behind the curve. Studies have shown that composting of bioplastics will be feasible in the UK as soon as commercial sales volumes have increased sufficiently to support the investment required.
Will they biodegrade in landfill?
The compostable elements of our nappies will biodegrade in UK landfills, though at a slower rate than under ideal hot composting conditions. UK landfills are not currently managed to promote biodegradability. They are densely packed and lack the necessary natural microbes, oxygen and light.
What can I do?
By choosing Mama Bamboo products and other bioplastics when you are shopping, you are helping us to send a clear message to the government. We, as consumers and manufacturers, are willing to change and avoid fossil fuel plastics but we need their support to realise the full benefits of these choices.
Please do join our campaign #thenappyrevolution and sign our petition:
A nappy composting case study
Companies such as Soiled Diaper in Canada, Earth Baby in the US and Envirocomp in New Zealand, and community projects such as Dycle in Germany, are composting nappies by the millions.
The city of Toronto in Canada has been composting eco-nappies for over 10 years. They have diverted over 2 billion used nappies away from landfill.
Toronto collects nappies and other organic waste and sends it to a processing facility. The resulting compost is distributed to farmland and parks.
That’s right! Canada’s babies and toddlers, for all their messes, are helping Canadian crops to grow.
The programme, called “Green Bin,” also accepts animal waste, kitty litter and sanitary products. Just as crucially, it provides assurances that the process is “completely sanitary and safe”:
"Through decades of experiment and experience, sanitary engineering practice has developed standards for the composting process that ensure elimination of disease-causing organisms (pathogens). The high temperatures occurring naturally during the composting process destroy pathogens. Maintaining such high temperatures for a minimum time period ensures the final finished compost is pathogen-free."
We campaign tirelessly for our own government to make this service available in the UK.