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Dirty Diapers Used To Grow Mushrooms 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the hold-the-mushrooms-please dept.
Zothecula writes While their contents might be considered an environmental hazard by many, disposable diapers themselves pose a more significant problem for the environment. According to the EPA, the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before they end up in landfill where they'll take centuries to break down. In an effort to reduce the problem, scientists at Mexico's Autonomous Metropolitan University, Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), have turned used diapers to the task of growing mushrooms.
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Dirty Diapers Used To Grow Mushrooms

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  • by thsths (31372) on Friday September 05, 2014 @04:13AM (#47832783)

    Mushrooms used to be grown on horse manure, and I doubt they are very "selective". So this is no surprise.

    However, it is well known to be a bad idea. You do not grow food for human consumption on human feces, because the risk of contamination is too high. Horse manure is ok, as is growing animal fodder on human feces.

    And there are better schemes to get rid of old diapers - since they are rich in high quality cellulose that can be used after a good clean.

    • by Kkloe (2751395) on Friday September 05, 2014 @04:31AM (#47832829)
      "The project is not intended to produce mushrooms targeted for human consumption, since the main objective is to get rid of diapers to avoid damaging the environment more," Valdemar Espinosa added. "However, the mushrooms could be used as food supplement for cattle, the gel can be used to increase moisture retention in some crops and the plastic can be sent to recycling."
    • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Friday September 05, 2014 @04:38AM (#47832847) Journal

      Nothing new. If you have a compost toilet, you will have encountered spontaneous mushroom growth on your compost pile often enough. Also edible ones, like inkcaps. There is nothing against seeding it with a known mushroom kind. When you do that for your own household, you will know what diseases you have, and you get them anyway or are already resistant to them. Also know that the compost process kills any disease over time, and most diseases within days.

      But I would never add a plastic, chemically poisoned diaper to my compost pile. Most modern diapers are chemical waste and need to be processed as such.

      • Only thermophilic composting can kill diseases, and even then only the material in the core. A composting toilet usually doesn't have the critical mass.
        • You'd be surprised. My compost toilet is a "collector" type, so it is basically a bin with a toilet seat on top (see http://www.thingiverse.com/thi... [thingiverse.com] ) and it must be emptied on a compost pile. So the composting should take place outside the toilet itself. However, the composting process already starts in the toilet and hardly needs any mass at all. It just needs rest and the right ingredients.
    • From the TFA

      "The project is not intended to produce mushrooms targeted for human consumption, since the main objective is to get rid of diapers to avoid damaging the environment more"

    • Try and look up a video of a modern mushroom farm. This is damn near appatizing compared to the way they're normally grown. After I saw it first hand, I started vigorously cleaning all mushrooms I got from the market.

    • >You do not grow food for human consumption on human feces, because the risk of contamination is too high.

      Who are you, Jon Snow? You know nothing.

      As long as the faeces is properly composted/treated to break down pathogens, its perfectly safe to use for food crops.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    farmer communities in Mexico have many years doing exactly that for human consumption
    And I bet Mexicans are not the only ones doing it in that way...

  • Tortured sentence structure anyone? Or are they really are landfilling babies at the experimental mushroom farm???

    Not that we ever expected much from the editors at /., but one could hope for a bare minimum of literacy.

    • one could hope for a bare minimum of literacy.

      Yes, one could hope.

      Or are they really are landfilling babies at the experimental mushroom farm???

      Oh well.

      As for the sentence in question, while there is an amusing ambiguity if one wishes to look for it, I don't think most people are going to have a problem parsing it.

      • by robbak (775424)

        Well, the sentence parses nice and cleanly. It states that "the average baby will (...) end up in landfill..."

        The sentence is plain wrong - what its author wrote differs from what he intended.

        • the average baby will work their way through 8,000 of them before they end up in landfill

          It's only as ambiguous as you want to make it.

          • by omnichad (1198475)

            through 8,000 of them before they end up in landfill

            So are all 8,000 diapers used before any end up in a landfill? That is one crazy hoarder.

            It's only as ambiguous as terrible writing.

        • by Iniamyen (2440798)
          YOUR sentence is plain wrong: "The sentence parses (...) the average baby..."

          What the heck are you implying here?!
    • Or are they really are landfilling babies at the experimental mushroom farm???

      They're only using baby lawyers, so it's OK.

  • by Chas (5144)

    I already don't eat mushrooms due to food allergies (and trying to tell them the specific TYPES I'm allergic to is a waste of time).

    So this is just another reason for me to NEVER eat a frickin mushroom.

    Just...eww.

    • by lev400 (1193967)

      this is just another reason for me to NEVER eat a frickin mushroom.

      How about you read the article? "The project is not intended to produce mushrooms targeted for human consumption, since the main objective is to get rid of diapers to avoid damaging the environment more"

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Key word? Intended because how long you think its gonna be before some employee figures out with the high cost of mushrooms there is profits to be made?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    And to recycle them in a sustainable way. Problem solved. In general, I think that should be the case for a lot of things.

    • And to recycle them in a sustainable way. Problem solved. In general, I think that should be the case for a lot of things.

      Spot on. Although the manufacturer would simply send:
      - 95% to landfill
      - 5% for recycle

      Just enough figures to give them some made up "Save the planet" and "Recycle Aware" certification for marketing. Profit!

    • by mysidia (191772)

      And to recycle them in a sustainable way. Problem solved. In general, I think that should be the case for a lot of things.

      Better yet... create a manufacturing tax... $3 per individual diaper sold. With 95% of the valuable refundable, upon proof of the volume of materials being recycled.

      Refunds/incentives contingent upon both the recycling of sold product AND the use of recycled materials to manufacturer new products.

      • by operagost (62405)

        How do you expect families to afford diapers that cost over $3 each?

        Oh, you thought somehow the "rich capitalists" were just going to eat it?

        • by mysidia (191772)

          How do you expect families to afford diapers that cost over $3 each?

          I expect that the families would refuse to purchase the product at such a price, therefore, the manufacturer will not be able to sell them for $3. The manufacturer will have to meet the recycling requirements, in order to continue to sell the product.

          If they don't, then the manufacturers will be outcompeted by other options.

          It is not as if disposable diapers are a fundamental need --- they are just a luxury, and there are other opt

    • Force the manufacturer to take them back

      Sooo, you mean shovel all the shit back in the baby?

      All jokes aside, that'd be about as easy and practical as forcing manufacturers to take back and sustainably recycle used products.

  • Surely it would be more effective to recycle coffee grounds for the purpose. They're already fairly sterile and must be available in huge quantities. Or has Starbucks already found a secondary market?

    • There is an awful lot of waste and fungi eat most things, so we'll probably end up with many of them in a few years.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      afaik starbucks already gives the grounds away for hippies to grow tomatoes and weed with.

      that is, if you got a large source of used coffee beans, you probably already have some use for them that's better than mushrooms yuck.

  • So that's 16k diapers for twins... well, we guesstimated 10k. The thought of carrying that many diapers up to the third floor and then back down fully 'charged' convinced us to use cloth diapers.

    Now we just polute the rivers with the laundry detergent :p.

    • by Demena (966987)
      You have a choice of detergents. If you use a biodegrable detergent it will not harm the waterways. I've seen the difference on a farm with no 'mains' connections.
      • by jabuzz (182671)

        The problem with detergents is that they *ARE* biodegradable. The phosphate in the detergent encourages algae to grow which causes problems in the rivers.

        • by Demena (966987)
          There are degrees of biodegradability. Even gold is biodegradable in the longest term (you use some in your biochemistry). As I said, you have a choice of detergents. Pick the right one.
  • This has to be the most ghetto way to grow shrooms.
  • by fellip_nectar (777092) on Friday September 05, 2014 @07:40AM (#47833365)

    Phase 1: Collect underpants

    Phase 2: Grow mushrooms

    Phase 3: Profit

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or support your local cloth diaper service.
    www.greenspringdiapers.com

  • Fungi based solutions like this really need more good press. For those interested here's a video from TED Talks of Paul Stamets giving a presentation on using Oyster Mushrooms to decompose diesel and other peptroleum waste among some other amazing uses of other types of fungi. Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world - http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_... [ted.com]
  • by Anonymous Coward

    n/t

  • It's nice to have technology to better dispose of diapers, but it should not be used as an alternative to tackling the main problem, which is that babies now wear diapers over longer and longer periods. The main reason for this is interfering with biofeedback. The better the diaper the less feedback the baby gets so the less it is inclined to change its behavior.

    The best way to reduce spent diapers is to reintroduce a form of biofeedback. An irritation. An annoyance. But of course that would interfere with

  • ... will just skip the mushrooms [wikipedia.org] and smoke the diapers.

  • How come there is no "gross" mod category? That's a gross oversight.

  • 3 per day for 3 years = 3285. Then, if they still have to wear them at night, it's 1095 for the next three years. How on earth do you get to 8000?

    Just incase someone questions my qualifications: We have raised 4 kids. None of them are used for growing mushrooms now.

All great discoveries are made by mistake. -- Young

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