Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Real Diaper Week - Environment

Welcome to day two of Real Diaper Week 2012.  I am very proud I have done two posts in a row since I am not a frequent blogger.

Anyways, the topic for the Real Diaper Week blog hop today is the environment.  To me this is a pretty easy topic.  It is stated that it should take a disposable diaper 500 years to decompose in a landfill.  With disposables only being around for 50 years, we realistically have no idea if that number is low or high.  Personally, I can't imagine throwing that much trash away.

Do you want to know how many diapers are thrown away in your area?   I am going to give you a little math to calculate the number of disposable diapers thrown in a landfill per MINUTE.

Visit this website for 2010 US census numbers

Choose your area and find the total population number for your area and the percent of that population under 5.  I will use the numbers for my area as the example

Total Population of Richland County, South Carolina - 384,504
Percent Under 5 - 6.4% (0.064)
Use the precalculated multiplier - 0.0025
= number of diapers per MINUTE thrown into our landfills
=(#Diapers per minute = 384,504 * 0.064 * 0.0025)
For my area, Richland County, that equals 62 diapers entering a landfill per MINUTE!

For those of you who want to see the calculation in full form without the shortcut multiplier, follow this calculation
(Total population * % Under 5) / 2 / 0.9 * 8 / 24 / 60 = Diaper Per minute

When you multiply the percent under 5 on the total population, you get the total number of children 5 and younger.  

Divide that number by 2 to calculate the number of children 0-2.5yrs, assuming all of those children are in diapers.  

Next multiply that result by 0.9, assuming that 90% of those babies are in disposables

Next multiply that number by 8 for the ~8 diaper changes per day

Divide that number by 24 for the changes per hour

Divide that number by 60 for the changes per minute

As you can see, there are some assumptions about the ages of children in diapers and the numbers of diapers per day.  But, this should give a decent guess as to the number of diapers entering a landfill per minute. 

Here are the numbers for other areas that I have calculated:

Richland County, South Carolina - 62 diapers per minute (DPM)
Lexington County, South Carolina - 44 DPM
South Carolina -  752 DPM
New York City, New York - 1288 DPM

Are your surprised?  Did you expect higher or lower numbers?  How many diapers enter a landfill in your area?

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