Fukuoka Prefecture has announced a plan to recycle diapers from hospitals and nursing homes in cooperation with municipalities in the metro Fukuoka area. Given the anticipated increase in the volume of diaper refuse, the Prefecture will begin monitoring used diaper volume in the upcoming fiscal year as part of a diaper recycling pilot program.
Ogi Town has been recycling diapers from individual homes since 2011, but this would be the first attempt at recycling diapers in a million-plus conurbation. The Prefecture is in discussions to allocate funds for the refuse monitoring and recycling pilot program in the FY2013 budget. Under the pilot program, the Prefecture will collect used diapers from hospitals and nursing homes and send them to a subcontractor for recycling. After separating the diapers into paper pulp and polymers, the former will be turned into external wall materials for use in construction, and the latter will be transformed into a soil amelioration agent. The aim is to commercialize these products and create a model recycling program. Since diapers are usually treated as flammable waste, the Prefecture hopes this program will help reduce CO2 emissions from incineration. Fukuoka City has agreed to join the scheme, and several surrounding municipalities are considering participating. The Fukuoka Research Center for Recycling Systems (Wakamatsu-ku, Kitakyushu) will provide support.
Source: Nishinippon Shimbun. Jan. 30, p. 19