Diapers - The Next Industry Primed For Disruption

Had an interesting question come in via the Pebble inbox this week:

What industry is environmentally damaging and ripe for serious disruption and, eventually, improvement?

Tough one!

One answer that seems obvious in retrospect is diapers.

As any parent quickly comes to appreciate disposable diapers are both a miracle and a serious environmental problem. And though they are a very basic consumer item, they are also a tricky problem to solve in a universal and affordable way.

The basic breakdown:

The challenge is that, for years, the only other option - reusable cloth diapers - were not necessarily any better when it comes to the carbon emissions. The energy it takes to clean and dry them actually often added up to more than a simple disposable version. This effectively lets people off the hook and using disposables is less work anyway.

Now, that can change - crucially on multiple fronts. Advances in materials and also more efficient washing machines (and renewable energy!) mean that both disposable and reusable variants may improve dramatically in the years ahead. Bamboo inserts and hemp reusables may improve both things considerably. Diapers are getting "smarter" but they are also getting greener.

The other angle? With Western societies ageing rapidly the diaper market, green or otherwise, is growing exponentially at the other end of human lifespan. So, who will be the Beyond Meat for diapers? And who will be Lululemon or Patagonia for the adult market?!


Have questions? Care to find out more? Feel free to reach out at contact@pebble.finance or join our Slack community to meet more like-minded individuals and see what we are talking about today. All are welcome.


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