Japan, one of the world’s super aged societies, finds it difficult to treat a growing amount of used diapers of the elderly. More than 7.83 billion diapers for adults were produced last year, 74 percent up from 4.5 billion 10 years ago, according to the Japan Hygiene Products Industry Association on Monday.
The number of elderly Japanese, aged 70 or above, has increased so considerably that one out of five Japanese citizens are categorized into this demographic group. Accordingly, demands for adult diapers are on the rise. The Asahi Shimbun reported that the paper diaper market for adults was worth 88.1 billion yen, or 883.2 billion won, last year and it already exceeded the baby diaper market back in 2012.
The amount of disposed diapers is on the increase. The Nippon Disposable Diaper Recycling Promotion Association said that the amount of diaper waste increased by 72 percent to reach 1.45 million tons from 840,000 tons 10 years ago. Adult diapers account for 20 to 30 percent of the total waste disposed in local or rural areas with a more rapid trend of aging, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Monday. Things are way worse in sanatoriums and nursing facilities.
According to Japanese media outlets, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment projects the proportion of adult diapers will increase from the current five percent to eight percent in 2030. Against this backdrop, the Japanese government plans to set guidelines on how to treat, retrieve and recycle disposable diapers so that local self-governing agencies are called upon to follow them starting from next year.