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Corn is Key to Eco-friendly Diapers

2/10/17 9:00 AM

A world without diapers would be a messy one, but in all actuality it's really the diapers that are causing a mess. According to the Real Diaper Association, around 27 billion disposable diapers are used every year in the United States, making up about 20% of total waste in landfills. Once you toss them in the trash it's not the end of them. Since diapers aren't biodegradable, they are actually toxic to the environment.

With that disturbing statistic in mind, Tethis, a startup company based in North Carolina has developed a green alternative. Instead of lining and filing diapers with a petrochemical-based polymer, the substance that becomes gel-like when wet, Tethis is using a biodegradable material made from corn starch.

If you think about it, it's not a bad idea since corn starch is commonly used in cooking to congeal sauces and gravies. But how do they turn the powder into an ultra-absorbent material without losing its essential properties?

The process is one Tethis has been working on since 2012, which includes putting the corn starch into an extruder machine. Just like a tube of toothpaste, the machine turns the corn starch into a pasta-like material that holds onto fluids. But in the end, the final product is converted into a powder that will be mixed in with a cotton fluff material made from pine trees to enhance its absorbency.

Since this product eco-friendly and costs about the same any other diaper, companies are already lining up to get their hands on it. The demands has prompted Tethis to open a production plant this summer, with hopes of producing about 700 tons of the green product each year.

To aid in the manufacturing process, data loggers are deployed to verify that machinery is compliant and functioning at the proper temperatures. MadgeTech's equipment monitoring data loggers are built rugged to withstand high temperature environments. To view the entire line of data loggers designed specifically for manufacturing, click here.

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MadgeTech Marketing Team