Socio-Technical Transition for a Circular Diaper System in 2030
Every year, around 500 million disposable diapers are used in Denmark, equivalent to 50-100,000 tons of diaper waste. Of this, 10-15,000 tons are plastic waste (including plastic fibers). The diaper consumption accounts for approximately 100,000 tons of CO2-equivalent emissions in production and disposal. Despite the existence of technical solutions, such as hybrid diapers (which include a reusable part and disposable inserts), their usage remains insignificant in both public/private care institutions and households. Furthermore, their sustainable benefits compared to disposable diapers are largely unsubstantiated, and the demonstration of viable circular systems, including supporting logistics and treatment, is mostly lacking.
By taking an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach, technical innovation and the demonstration of circular systems are paired with a deep understanding of care practices and socio-cultural barriers to implementation. The overall project goal is to lay the foundation for a holistic system change towards a sustainable diaper system in 2030 in Denmark
Socio-Technical Transition for a Circular Diaper System in 2030 addresses system transformation and, therefore, includes partners across the value chain, from design and manufacturing to users and consumers, and onwards to circular logistics and end-of-life management. Using Denmark as a case, it is expected that the system transformation will reduce approximately half of the CO2 emissions related to diaper consumption, along with corresponding reductions in waste production and resource consumption. Cost savings in care and an improved working environment for care staff are additional outcomes, as well as the creation of employment in circular logistics. From a business perspective, Socio-Technical Transition for a Circular Diaper System in 2030 will bring circular system elements closer to full market implementation by the end of the project.
Participating partners: Abena A/S, Odense Renovation, Odense Municipality, Aarhus Municipality, Designschool Kolding, and University of Southern Denmark.
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