As Kim and Jason Graham-Nye were anticipating the arrival of their first child, they discovered that conventional disposable diapers/nappies are the third largest contributors to landfills in the world and that one single disposable diaper takes 500 years to biodegrade. These were the revelations that completely redirected their careers purpose.
After their son was born, they became aware of a small company in Tasmania that was making flushable and compostable diaper inserts. In 2005, they used this technology to found their own company, gDiapers.
gDiapers aims to redefine disposable diapers by creating a reusable alternative with inserts that are flushable, biodegradable, compostable and most importantly won’t end up in our landfills or oceans. The diapers are also the first of their kind to be Cradle to Cradle Certified, meaning they are regenerative, giving back to the earth what they take. After just one compost cycle, the inserts are transformed into nutrient-rich soil.
“Nappies are a seriously dirty business and not just because they’re filled with poop but because they’re made of plastic,” said Kim.
Plastic is dependent on nonrenewable resources and takes a long time to biodegrade, especially in landfills. When plastic begins breaking down, it can turn into microplastic which is categorized as small pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long. These small pieces of plastic pose health threats to marine and land animals. Studies have explored how microplastic is impacting human health. A recent study by the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology indicated that humans may consume between 39,000 to 52,000 particles annually from food sources.
“Every single piece of plastic ever produced on the entire planet is still here in one way, shape, or form and will be for hundreds of years,” explains Kim. The world has cumulatively produced over 7.8 billion tonnes of plastic–more than one tonne for every person alive today.
As people are becoming more aware of the consequences of single-use plastics, changes are being made on small and large scales. The responsibility should equally fall on both consumers and producers.
Just this year, Vanuatu, a small Pacific Island nation northeast of Australia, announced that it will be the first country in the world to ban the sale and use of disposable diapers. The ban goes into effect in December of 2020.
At the 2019 TEDx Sydney, Kim shared how gDiapers are an innovative solution to our global reliance on single-use plastics. “We need solutions that challenge our existing mindset around extraction and waste. We need to go far beyond recycling. We need to be inspired by nature and reimagine how we make, use and contribute to the world we live in.”
You can watch Kim’s full TEDx Talk below.