YOUR STORY TO END “GO DIAPER-FREE WEEK”
If you heard us on Monday, you know we kicked off the week announcing this is “go diaper-free week.” We’re ending the week on the same high (?) note. This diaper changing story takes us to Berlin, Germany and the startup, Dycle, launched in 2016 by artist and innovator Ayumi Matzusaka. The name “Dycle” is a combination of diaper and cycle.
By the time a child is three years old, they will have produced an estimated 1100 pounds of diaper waste. But where does that all go? Well, normally into the trash can and then to the landfill. The company’s aim is to tackle the waste problem of the diaper cycle through the use of a circular system that includes community collection of the used diapers, vermicomposting, tree planting with the new soil and fruit harvesting for community consumption.
Matzusaka started out giving trainings on composting baby diaper waste to produce terra preta, also known as human-created fertile soil. Then, she launched the first pilot project in May 2015, before Dycle had officially launched. It showed that the community could handle diaper collection and that the soil production process was viable.
The second pilot project took place in September 2017. This time Dycle was able to provide the families who participated with diaper inlays it had produced. The latest project run was in the summer of 2021. Matsuzaka said of the project, “committed families were able to show what a positive ecological footprint can look like: not only avoiding waste, but giving valuable materials back to nature!”
DEEPER DIVE: Dycle, Berlin, VICE, ConservationX
MEET THE WORLD FUTURE COUNCIL
There’s nothing like strolling through the internet and stumbling across well established, future forward climate change groups like the World Future Council. The WFC is a German non-profit foundation with its headquarters in Hamburg started in 2007. The WFC works to pass on a healthy and sustainable planet with just and peaceful societies to future generations.
Its primary focus includes these four areas: Rights of Children and Youth, Climate and Energy, Sustainable Ecosystems and Livelihoods, Peace and Disarmament
It also hosts the Global Renewables Congress—a cross country, cross-party platform facilitating peer-to-peer exchanges between and with legislators. The GRC focuses on solutions for a rapid and large-scale deployment of renewable energy through enabling legislative frameworks.
The World Futures Council is a major partner of the Education for Sustainable Development PROGRAM. Empowering young people with the skills and knowledge of Education for Sustainable Development is fundamental to achieving sustainable societies.
So far, 16 countries shared good practices and broadened their knowledge about ESD through its initiative.
ANOTHER MAJOR EFFORT OF THE WFC IS THE FUTURE POLICY AWARDS.
The WFC has hosted the Future Policy Award since 2009. Considered the Oscar for Best Policies, it highlights the world’s best solutions to the most pressing global challenges. Past awards have been given for policies protecting biodiversity, forests, oceans, food security, for disarmament, children’s rights, ending violence against women and girls, combating desertification, and scaling up agroecology.
The WFC hosts a variety of webinars; past ones are available to stream from their website. An upcoming series that we at The Climate Daily are excited to participate in is the Forward Thinkers Webinar series. According to its website, the series is designed for forward-thinkers: decision-makers from the policy level, civil society, science, and business.
It’s set to launch in the second half of 2022. Stay tuned to The Climate Daily for more. Surf on over to worldfuturecouncil.org or just click on the links in the Deeper Dive section of this story @theclimate.org/episodes to learn more.
DEEPER DIVE: WFC, Wikipedia, Futurepolicy.org
SOLAR PANELS THAT WORK AT NIGHT!
Researchers at Stanford have harnessed the frigid vacuum of space to generate a small amount of electricity. This April, researchers published their findings in the journal Applied Letters in Physics. Shanhui Fan, the lead researcher on the project, explained, “The coldness of outer space is also an extremely important renewable energy resource.”
What they did was to utilize something called radiative cooling. Basically, when an object is facing the night sky, heat radiates out to space. Through this process, the object can become cooler than the air temperature around it. That difference in temperature, between the object and the air around it, is what they used to be used to generate electricity.
A modified solar panel generated 50 milliwatts per square meter at night. A typical solar panel on a home is about 5 square METERS. That’s about 750 miliwatts, or ¾ of a watt, per hour. Comparatively, most standard, residential solar panels generally generate between 250 and 400 watts per hour.
¾ of a watt per hour doesn’t sound like a lot, so Why does Stanford’s research matter to us? According to the researchers, this low density power could be used for nighttime lighting, charging devices and keeping sensors and monitoring equipment online. Given the prevalence of “vampire” devices in our homes, that’s saying something.
There are still a lot of questions to be answered before any commercial application can be rolled out, Geoff Smith, emeritus professor in applied physics at The University of Technology Sydney, but it’s not that far away.
DEEPER DIVE: CNet, NPR, Interesting Engineering, AIP
YOUR LAST GO DIAPER FREE WEEK STORY, EVER…
Did you really think I was going to let Jeffrey have the last word on Go Diaper-free Week? Come on? Have you not been listening? Disposable diapers are a big smelly problem. That’s where a team of researchers in the Miley Tsai Department of Industrial Design at the Chung Hua University in Taiwan come in.
In 2018, they designed a diaper recycler to address this very smelly climate problem. The team’s approach was to stratify the glue-like fiber/polyacrylate mixture and return the raw materials back to industry. Basically, after appropriate disinfection, the diapers are shredded and soaked in natural ingredients to help separate the different layers.
Currently, the product is only in Taiwan, but the team hopes to expand to other markets:
- MainLand China
- South Korea
Why does the diaper recycler matter to us? Disposable diapers have been listed as the third-largest single consumer item in landfills. Even worse,they can take at least 500 years to decompose. According to a 2021 report, diapers in landfills emit methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
DEEPER DIVE: Taiwan News, The Index Project, Very Compostable