International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

From the bottom up

29 May 2018

Bamboo could provide a solution to one of the hallmarks of unsustainable consumption – disposable diapers.

Bamboo diapers are at the centre of an award-winning project to change the way we raise children.

Newly launched start-up Dycle aims to tackle the problem of diaper waste. It envisions “a fundamentally new way of how baby diapers are to be produced, used and recycled, or rather upcycled, when they are no longer a waste but a nutrient for plants, transformed into fertile soil.” Dycle recognises the environmental impacts made by disposable diapers, and has developed a system whereby parents can contribute diaper waste to a cooperative that uses it for nutrients.  It aims to roll out its first trial in Berlin shortly.

As part of its commitment to sustainability, Dycle asks all cooperating families to use diapers made of sustainable material – which must be non-chemically treated, absorbent, and “100% renewably sourced”. This is where bamboo come in. A comfortable, soft material made from a fast-replenishing grass plant, bamboo diapers have already been produced by companies before Dycle began its work.

Dycle is supported by Gunter Pauli, founder of the ‘Blue Economy’: a business model that encourages society to live in a more sustainable way. In 2018, Pauli’s initiative ‘From the Bottom Up’ was awarded the FAMAE top award. ‘From the Bottom Up’ presents the new way of thinking about diapers and waste, of which Dycle is part. The winning concept note mentions that innovation in diaper materials is a critical component of an overall shift to a more sustainable way of rearing infants – and specifically mentions bamboo as a suitable material.

As Pauli’s concept note says, bamboo diapers are part of a larger commitment to sustainable consumption and production, as outlined in UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12: “It is about changing the way we design business, respond to basic needs and ensure quality of life, while building community, generating jobs, turning cities liveable… and returning richness to the soil. And also massively reducing carbon emissions!”