Saturday, June 13, 2009

diapers as CO2 sequestration

They say that disposable diapers can take a century to biodegrade when buried in a typical landfill.

I say maybe that is a good thing.

The process of carbon sequestration is just taking carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it somewhere else for a long time. So, in the case of diapers, trees took the carbon out of the air, factories turned that tree-captured carbon into a useful product through the addition of a carbon-based sealant (a thin layer of plastic, usually made from oil) and humanity briefly used this product, then put it in the earth.

So, the carbon cycle is atmospheric carbon converted into carbon chains by tree, sealed to prevent carbon returning to atmosphere by factory, stored underground for a long time by an indifferent humanity.

That is the definition of carbon sequestration.

Maybe congress should pass a bill subsidizing paper diapers, carbon taxing rapidly degrading diapers, and banning re-usables and paper recycling in general.

Yes, up to this point, I have been mocking CO2 policy, not really being serious at all.

But, if you really think about it, virtually everything a person owns during their life that isn't metal or water is primarily composed of carbon. Clothes, beds, carpets, computers, houses, food. Basically everything. If all of that carbon came from the atmosphere today and got put into the ground, that'd be a pretty significant carbon sink. Unfortunately, all that plastic still comes from oil.

1 comment:

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