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  3. Diaper Recycling Efforts

Together we create a future cycle

Together we create a future cycle

Aiming for a future when disposable diapers are no longer disposed of.

Aiming for a future when disposable diapers are no longer disposed of.

The world's first* "horizontal recycling of disposable diapers".
Based on our technological innovation,
from the previous "use and throwaway style", to a cycle of "use"→ "collect" → "reborn" cycle.

Continuing to use repeatedly,
so that disposable diapers are no longer disposed of; this is the aimed future of project "RefF".
Hygienic and comfortable. And used just the same as usual.
We are now ready to put sustainable value on them and have them used by everyone.

If each person's choices expand,
and we could create a society where disposable diapers are not disposed of,
this will lead to a future full of potential.

Why not start by choosing a product with this "RefF" mark?

"RefF" is a future cycle created by us all.

*Horizontal recycling technology from disposable diapers to disposable diapers using ozone treatment technology (Researched by Unicharm, December 2020)

Unicharm's aim: Horizontal recycling of disposable diapers

Unicharm's aim: Horizontal recycling of disposable diapers

Horizontal recycling has the advantage of allowing limited resources to be used repeatedly.

Disposable diapers are mainly made of pulp made from wood,
and Super-absorbent polymer materials made from petroleum resources, and plastic. If these materials can be used repeatedly,
then we can reduce the amount of wood and oil resources used.

In response to resource and the ever-increasing issue of disposable diaper waste,
Unicharm's goal is horizontal recycling.

First, used dirty disposable diapers are dewatered, crushed into small pieces, washed, and separated by material.

There are still some dirt and odors at this stage,
but the pulp extracted from disposable diapers is subjected to ozone treatment (sterilization, bleaching, and deodorization).

The material is returned to a safe and clean condition and then used again to make new disposable diapers.

Diagram of horizontal recycling

Technology for recycling diapers

Technology for recycling diapers

Mechanism for regenerating pulp through ozone treatment

Mechanism for regenerating pulp through ozone treatment

1. Sterilization with ozone

Even after washing, used disposable diapers still contain bacteria such as E. coli.

Ozone has a strong oxidizing effect that comes into effect here.

The pulp after ozone treatment has almost no bacteria.

It is reborn as hygienic pulp.

Bacterial counts of over 1 billion cfu can be reduced to almost zero through dehydration cleaning and ozone sterilization.

cfu:Colony forming unit

2. Bleaching with ozone

New disposable diapers are white because the cellulose, a component of unused pulp, is white.

Used disposable diapers still contain coloring such as proteins contained in human waste, but ozone's strong oxidizing action removes the source of the coloring and restores the whiteness.

Pulp before ozone treatment

Coloring adheres to cellulose fibers, making pulp appear soiled

Pulp after ozone treatment

With fibers decolorized, pulp is restored to original whiteness

3. Deodorization with ozone

When ozone's strong oxidizing action converts the odor-causing components into other substances, the odor disappears.

The pulp that has been sterilized, bleached, and deodorized in this way regains the same quality as virgin pulp.

In addition, the ozone used for processing reverts to oxygen over time,

so it is safe and does not leave any residue on recycled pulp. At Unicharm, we consider it our top priority to make sanitary products clean and safe.

Click for RefF products

Wellness Care

Click here for Product lineup and Purchase

Launched during April 2024

Baby Care



Launched during April 2024

Pet Care



Launched during April 2024

A part of these products' absorbent core contain RefF pulp, which is recycled from used disposable diapers.

RefF History

–So far and from now on–

It all started in 2010.

Based on the strong feelings of one Unicharm employee, RefF project has been formed as a cross-organizational initiative involving superiors, subordinates, and other departments within the company.

Unicharm's official “Thinking about the future of disposable diapers” note introduces the trajectory of the challenge, which started with a single employee, and the story of the current project.

Unicharm official “Thinking about the future of disposable diapers”

For questions and comments on the RefF project from individuals, organizations, local governments, and companies, please contact us here!

For general media, please contact the Public Relations Office, ESG Division, Unicham Ltd. TEL:03-6722-1019

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