Building Diaper Mountains

That’s One Big Pile Of…

Every now and then I drive up to the local recycling center, the trunk of my car filled with bags of diapers. Twins, right… At the recycling center you’re supposed to show what you’re dropping off, since not everything can be dropped off for free. Every time, the man checking the trash walks up to the car, sees the bags and jokes “bringing over biochemical waste, huh?”. I chuckle to humor him and go about my business.

In Europe there are a total of 30.790.000 children under the age of 4, in the U.S. 20.140.000. On average a child goes through about 8.395 diapers in the first 4 years of its life. This totals up to about 64.620.512.500 diapers in Europe per year and 42.268.825.000 in the United States. If all those diapers get stacked up into a big pyramid, Europe would be able to build a diaper-pyramid 459.3 meters high every single year. The U.S. would have to do with a pyramid "merely" 398.7 meters high. That’s still impressive, though. The Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza is just 139 meters high. In fact, both the U.S. and European diaper-pyramids would take up a spot in the top 25 tallest buildings. The European diaper-pyramid would even manage to take up a top 10 spot.

Our daiper pyramids to scale

My kids’ diapers all get recycled. And, judging from my calculations that’s a good thing. Giant diaper-pyramids would just stink up the place.

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