The Sumo Diaper is an eco-friendly and fully biodegradable diaper

The product was created by Luisa Kahlfeldt using a cellulose fiber that is made from eucalyptus wood pulp and brown algae extracts.

Luisa Kahlfeldt

Luisa Kahlfeldt presented her master’s project, the Sumo Diaper, on the stage of the 2019 antenna conference.

As an industrial designer Kahlfeldt wanted to create a project that deals with the issues of sustainability but instead of just focusing on the way we consume or produce a product she wanted to go all the way to the source and create a sustainable material herself.

Her research led her to an interesting material called seacell fiber. Seacell is a cellulose fiber that is made from eucalyptus wood pulp and brown algae extracts. Using a closed loop production method, the material is eco-friendly, fully biodegradable and produces little to no waste.

After receiving a few kilograms of the material, she processed, cleaned and wove the fiber creating the first batch of 100% seacell fabric. The incredibly soft, durable and sturdy fabric opened up a dozen possible uses for the fabric.

But Kahlfeldt wanted to create something that served as more than just a decorative purpose. She thus decided that the best option would be to create a baby diaper. According to Kahlfeldt more than 80% of European parents make use of disposable baby diapers. These diapers are incredibly harmful to the environment and take up to 500 years to decompose.

“Not only are these diapers harmful to the environment but they are harmful to babies as well. There has been links to cancer-causing chemicals found in these diapers,” says Kahlfeldt.

Adding: “The project has a very special place in my heart because as an industrial designer you don’t often have the opportunity to design and invent the main ingredient of a project yourself."

This talk is part of the third antenna conference, a collaboration between Design Indaba and the Dutch Design Foundation, which recently took place as part of Dutch Design Week.

Find out more about Antenna

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