According to current estimates, some 6-7 billion disposable hygiene articles are produced annually worldwide. Where available, they have been shown to benefit women, children, and other segments of society. But what will it take to bring disposable hygiene into a more circular economy? In part 3 of this episode of ‘Attached to Hygiene’, Christophe Morel, Bostik's Global Technical Marketing Manager, joins host Jack Hughes to consider the possibilities.
A New Era of Resource Management in Disposable Hygiene
Over the last 50 years, the disposable hygiene industry has made great strides in reducing the weight of baby diapers. This inevitably reduced the resources needed to produce them. Even so, more can be done. In addition to further weight reduction, shifting away from fossil resources including fuel for energy will help. The market will also need to find economical ways to produce renewable raw materials. The current rate of production falls far short of what the industry consumes today. And, as articles become available in underserved regions of the world, even more will be required.
End-of-Life Management Includes Everything From Design to Recycling
To make the industry more circular, managing end-of-life outcomes should begin early, in the design phase. For example: As much as 70% of the discarded product is human waste. How will it be removed? Do the plastics and other components need to be separated? If so, how can it be done economically? After all, any sustainable improvement should also bring its share of financial benefits. Otherwise, it’s not sustainable … it’s philanthropy. The efforts of other industries around recycling may give disposable hygiene a glimpse of what lies ahead.
Outline of the Episode
- [04:40] Sustainability is about society, economy, and the environment. How is the industry doing?
- [07:00] The industry’s 4 key challenges for improving sustainability
- [11:51] Efforts to minimise the use of resources and reduce waste
- [16:55] Is there one definition for a sustainable diaper? Why all solutions are welcome
- [20:05] Successes and challenges in other industries’ recycling efforts
- [23:28] A large part of bringing disposable hygiene into the circular economy is managing the flow of carbon
- [27:44] The value of designing products with end-of-life scenarios in mind
- [30:06] How realistic is designing disposable hygiene products for circularity?
- [33:20] The feasibility of switching to bio-sourced and renewable materials
- [36:22] Not all bio-sourced materials are better for the environment
- [38:04] Today’s limited supply of bio-sourced materials
Get Connected with Attached to Hygiene
Sign up for our newsletter to get emails every two weeks with updates about new episodes, additional materials about what was discussed in the episode, and, starting in early 2022, exclusive content we've created around topics like sustainability, absorbent core, feminine hygiene, and others. This will include whitepapers, glossaries, 1-pagers, and other helpful learning materials. So if you want to stay up to date on everything we know about important industry topics, click this link to sign up for our Attached to Hygiene newsletter.
Connect with Jack Hughes on LinkedIn. You can also find us at Disposable Hygiene Adhesives on LinkedIn or by visiting the Attached to Hygiene Podcast on our official website.
You can email us with questions, comments, or ideas for future episodes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find Attached to Hygiene wherever you get your podcast
Host: Jack Hughes
Music by Jonathan Boyle
Discover Other Popular Attached to Hygiene Episodes