Good practice

Total product redesign - diaper manufacturer

Total product redesign - diaper manufacturer
© andriano_cz, #130177948, 2017, source: fotolia.com
Resources:
Energy, Materials, Waste, Carbon
Sector:
Textile and clothing
Resource savings: Waste:
Disposable baby diapers make up 2-3 % of municipal solid waste in Europe, which is 6-15 % of the entire continent's waste; using only gDiapers, for example, could avoid 80 % of that waste from going to landfill
Associated cost savings: Waste:
80%
Size of company:
Small (less than 50)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Intermediate, Advanced
  • A diaper company applies cradle-to-cradle principles to its products
  • It creates a reusable, disposable and partly biodegradable diaper

gDiapers, a company producing diapers (nappies) decided to reduce the environmental impact of its products. Indeed, diapers are largely made of synthetic materials most of which are not reusable. In Europe, 22 billion are made yearly.

The company tried to answer the following questions:

  • What part of the product actually needs to be disposed of, what can be made reusable?
  • How to make the disposable part as eco-friendly as possible?
  • How to improve the product along the way (attractiveness, quality, efficiency)?

The result is a reusable diaper in which disposable, biodegradable inserts can be either composted, flushed or landfilled. By using more natural materials and fewer plastics, the product is more gentle on the skin and can be made  to look more attractive because the wearable part is no longer a dispsable.

With this approach, gDiapers became the first cradle to cradle certified company in the USA. This green solution generated attention and new customers for the company, as well having a positive environmental impact.

Key benefits

A study in Europe found that redesigning products, such as baby diapers, can significantly benefit the environment. Possible gains include:

  • 140 000 tonnes of materials saved per year
  • 2 020 tonnes of SO2 equivalent emissions saved per year
  • 738 000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents prevented per year
  • 22 400 TJ of primary energy per year (90 % from non-renewable sources) saved

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