As the father of a toddler, I am an expert on dirty diapers. I know exactly what to do with them: throw them out!
But along comes a New York waste company and a town in California who want me to do something else with my dirty diapers. Like cover my roof with them. Or walk on them. Or build a doghouse with them, perhaps.
Does this sound nuts? Well, it’s not. In fact, this project just won the world’s top happiness award: the 2003 Happy Guy Award (www.The HappyGuy.com).
A few months ago, we lived in a “vertical community”. When The Little Lady was born, we wanted to expand our home to make room for her, but our neighbors below objected to us digging a basement, and a front porch would have blocked the hall. So we opted to move out to the country, and with that move we had to sacrifice the diaper service and any environmental high ground we could claim.
Yes, we became what we had always wanted to avoid being: diaper-dumpers.
If you have never had children, you may not realize how much a little child can dispose of. In olden days, a couple would have a dozen kids, give or take a few. In these modern times of disposable diapers that just is not possible – the diapers from the first child take up more place on this planet than several dozen siblings would.
So along comes the town of Santa Clarita and Knowaste Inc. proposing to recycle dirty diapers. Sure, you think, just mix them all together, throw in a bit of water, steam them clean and slap them back on baby.
Ironically, the only product that does not seem to be on the list of end uses is diapers. Roofing shingles, sure. Shoe insoles, yes. But not diapers. As I pondered how the world might look if the massive force of dirty diapers was unleashed, it became clear that there could be several big markets. Imagine the pitches …
From Milan and Paris: “Next we have Oo-La-La Picotte strutting her stuff in a lovely ensemble of pure recycled diapers. Notice the fashionable fuchsia on the upper tilt of the collar. This line will be all the rage in parlors and bars this spring.”
From Detroit and Tokyo: “Feel the energy and invigoration. That’s the power of 100% pure recycled diapers under the hood. Go ahead. Kick the tires. Pick your color. And drive away safe in the knowledge that you are being protected by 2000 pound of pure recycled baby poop!”
From Los Angeles: “It’s a smash hit. Dirty Diapers II: The Recycled Story opened in theatres across the country yesterday and immediately claimed the number one spot. What a movie!”
From New York and Toronto: “This just in. Citizens are being asked NOT to hoard dirty diapers. I repeat, do NOT hoard dirty diapers. The shortage has already slowed the economy by three percent and housing starts have ground to a halt. Please take all your dirty diapers immediately to a drop-off depot. This has been a public service announcement.”
So what will YOU be doing with your dirty diapers?