Oyster Mushrooms Can Break Down Disposable Diapers in 4 Months

by , 05/28/11

Alethia Vázquez-Morillas, Autonomous Metropolitan University, oyster mushrooms, disposable diaper composting, landfill waste, recycling, diapers,

Disposable diapers. They’re one of the biggest contributors to overflowing landfills, piling up at a rate of 1 ton of trash per kid per year. And the worst part is that not a single disposable diaper ever made has yet decomposed. It is estimated that disposable diapers take 500 years to break down, which means the very first disposable diaper created 40 years ago is still sitting in the dump, holding court with all the other sposies that have since joined it. But now, a scientist named Alethia Vázquez-Morillas from the Autonomous Metropolitan University in Mexico City has found a way to turn that 500-year span to a mere 4 months, by using oyster mushrooms to accelerate the breakdown. How?

Alethia Vázquez-Morillas, Autonomous Metropolitan University, oyster mushrooms, disposable diaper composting, landfill waste, recycling, diapers,

Oyster mushrooms break down cellulose, which allows them to feed on decaying trees. This same substance makes up the bulk of disposable diapers, so putting the two together results in 90% decomposition of the diapers in just 2 months, with full results in 4. Oyster mushrooms can’t solve the problem of human waste being added to landfills that aren’t designed to hold it or filter out chemicals like SAP and dioxin, but these industrious mushrooms hold the promise of at least removing the bulk of diaper waste from landfills that need a break.

Via EcoGeek

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6 Responses to “Oyster Mushrooms Can Break Down Disposable Diapers in 4 Months”

  1. Elizabeth Thatcher says:

    Well, I never did understand why the rush on disposable diapers. I used cloth ones on both of my children, and they weren’t that much work. Soak them in a diaper pail, throw them in the wash and then the drier. Sometimes I even dried them on the clothesline…(Oh, horrors!) Yes, I had a full time job when I was raising my children and was very busy….

  2. Jonathan says:

    I love mushrooms, nature’s wonder

  3. Grace13 says:

    A great discovery. Now I want to hear how it can be made useful. Do we send all our disposed diapers to mushroom farms? Do landfills seed the area with Oyster spores? Just knowing it works means little until strategies are developed to actually bring the diapers and the mushrooms together.
    Does anyone know if this is being done?

  4. homesteadmamma says:

    I would like to try this in my backyard, but am nervous that I could end up contaminating my creek with dioxin or other chemicals. Any advice?

  5. sam0123 says:

    what happens on cellulose on diaper with urine when it is steamed?

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