Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Nutritious Nappies

Used nappies provide irrigation to the drought-stricken regions
  (+3, -4)
(+3, -4)
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Millions of disposable nappies are placed into landfill sites in damp western countries such as the UK. Rotting slowly they constitute a serious problem to the environment.

Why not send this resource to drought-stricken regions? The modern nappy is designed to contain copious amounts of liquid. Once shredded these would providen water and trap any desert morning dew. Both urine and faeces are excellent fertilizers, just ask any tomato...

The little pictures on the material would provide welcome relief to passing nomads from the unrelenting sun... (i.e. indicate where to pee...)

As they say at Oxfam...

"Give a man a fish, and he eats for one day, Give a man a steaming pile of nappies and he has irrigation for the a whole year..."

marmite, Mar 28 2001


       ...and some seriously smelly countryside.
DrBob, Mar 28 2001

       I haven't ever excavated a landfill, but I consistently read that the contents actually do not rot, with the typical example being still-legible newspapers dug up after decades in the landfill. Also, the copious amounts of liquid stored in the used nappies/diapers are bound up in gels such that the water might evaporate, but would not be released into the soil. It could nourish plant roots only if the roots found their way to the gel.
beauxeault, Mar 28 2001

       Modern "sanitary" landfills are explicitly designed to avoid biodegradation, for a couple of reasons. One is, you can't have biodegradation without groundwater (and ideally some air), and there's too much stuff in the trash stream that you don't want getting into the groundwater --- cadmium, mercury, lead, not to mention biological stuff and toxic organics. The other reason is that biological activity is going to produce methane, which has been known to cause fires and explosions near old-fashioned non-sanitary landfills. (There are cogeneration plants which do the garbage-->methane-->electrical power thing on purpose, but they're not landfills.)   

       Fun book on the subject: _Rubbish_, William Rathje & Cullen Murphy.
wiml, Mar 29 2001

       Hmm, this one gets my vote...   

       The osmotic pressure generated by plant roots would be able to extract water from the shredded nappy material.   

       A plant grown on 'nitrogenous waste' would not incorporate human viruses, etc (It would need a good wash though...)
riposte, Mar 30 2001


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