Every year in France, we buy and throw away 3.5 billion diapers. To recycle this waste, the start-up Les Alchimistes recovers the organic matter from the layers to make compost.
Used diapers represent huge waste streams, that mostly end up in incineration. In the first two years of life, babies consume an average of 2 to 8 diapers a day, and therefore generate more than a ton of this waste. In a household with a child under the age of 2, disposable diapers account for 40% of the household waste. The start-up Les Alchimistes sees this waste as a potential. These bio-waste specialists have designed a mechanical process that recovers organic matter from used diapers and transforms it into compost: this is the "Couches Fertiles" project.
At a dedicated area in Seine-Saint-Denis (93), a machine separates the plastic from the organic pulp, which is combined with wood shavings and coffee grounds to obtain compost.
The composting of diapers has been carried out experimentally since 2019 in collaboration with 5 Parisian nurseries and has avoided the incineration of 4 tons of waste. For Les Alchimistes, the long-term objective is to create a virtuous circuit from the layer to the compost, and to work with industrial partners to create a 100% compostable diaper.