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Agromousquetaires and Tethis collaborating to make fully compostable diapers a near-term market reality

Successful two-year pilot program has demonstrated end-to-end sustainability and nurseries satisfaction across France

For immediate release: October 1, 2021 – Raleigh, NC – Agromousquetaires, through its Cellulose de Brocéliande subsidiary, a major French diaper producer, has made public a key collaboration with North Carolina-based materials producer, Tethis, which aims to bring the first known compostable diaper to market. The program, branded Couches Fertiles (Fertile Diapers) by Les Alchimistes , a young socially responsible company, is an initiative to demonstrate the sustainable, controlled and full-cycle process of the compostable diapers from use to collection to disposal in a variety of institutions in Paris, France. 

According to a report from the US Environmental Protection Agency, an estimated 20 billion disposable diapers accumulate in landfills in the US alone, with Europe representing even larger amounts of similar waste. Europe leads in global efforts to increase causes supporting a circular economy for consumer products through policies such as the Paris Agreement. Goals of such policies require organizations to prioritize actions to reduce carbon, thus engaging in waste management practices including composting, recycling, and zero-waste initiatives. 

While many components of diapers have been made compostable, the absorbent material that makes the diaper work has been made from environmentally persistent polymers, called polyacrylates. To date, there has been no bio-based alternative with the performance and economics necessary to make a compostable diaper work at scale.

To create a realistic and authentic solution eliminating ecologically destructive diaper waste, the companies recognized tackling a longstanding and difficult problem would mean developing a multi-pronged strategy starting with product development. Cellulose de Brocéliande team sought an innovative way to make a functional diaper composed of sustainable materials. Cellulose de Brocélainde identified Tethis as a key contributor for the trial, in which Tethis provided the novel ingredient, and the expertise to embed it within their innovative and specially designed diapers maximizing effectiveness of the materials. In this unique collaboration, Tethis provided the breakthrough absorption technology for the compostable diapers while Agromousquetaires, through its Celluloses de Broceliande subsidiary, has developed an innovative diaper design, manufactured the diapers and Les Alchimistes managed the distribution, collection, and evaluation of the program – from the distribution of diapers to the evaluation of their performance through to converting the used products to industrial compost. 

“Our technology addresses a well-known ecological nightmare for society, but that to date has had no effective solution,” said Robin Weitkamp, Chief Executive Officer for Tethis. “The partnership with Cellulose de Brocéliande and Couches Fertiles is one of my proudest achievements, as we have demonstrated the successful use of our material within the first mass consumer trial of compostable diapers to market for a more environmentally conscious future with a partner that is driven to make it a commercial reality.”

In conjunction with Paris City Hall and the French Ministry of Ecological Transition, the Couches Fertiles program has demonstrated cradle-to-cradle sustainability of the diapers by partnering with nurseries over two years. Couche Fertiles provided thousands of diapers to nurseries to verify the diapers were effective for use. The nursery staff confirmed the compostable diapers being tested were just as suitable as other standard diapers. Disposal of the diapers was also successful, Les Alchimistes, led the collection and the successful composting of  the diapers      in a controlled, industrial environment.      Over the past two years more than 15,000 diapers have been successfully composted, demonstrating the viability of converting baby diapers from a landfill or incinerated waste and into a useful, safe and eco-friendly consumer product.

“We are committed to finding a way to balance excellent performance in diapers without leaving a permanent waste” said Eric Vilmen, Head of Development at Cellulose de Brocéliande . “We view this type of product as inevitable and important for France and for society as a whole.”

As the pilot program accelerates, Cellulose de Brocéliande and Tethis are expanding their collaboration to evaluate the next steps to bring the compostable diapers to the market in Europe at commercial scale.

For information about Tethis, visit Tethis.com.

For media inquiries, contact Robin Weitkamp or press@tethis.com.

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About Tethis 

Tethis develops and manufactures superabsorbent materials built from plant-based feedstock sources. Tethis’ proprietary, plastic-free, compostable super-absorbents allow product brands and manufacturers to move to more genuinely eco-conscious products while keeping overall performance comfortably and cost-effectively. For additional information, visit www.tethis.com.

About Agromousquetaires

Agromousquetaires,the agri-food cluster of Groupement Les Mousquetaires,is made of 6 manufacturing sectors, 59 production units throughout France, 11,000 employees and around 18,000 breeder partners and 1,200 farmer partners. Agromousquetaires is a major player in France and the 1st manufacturer of private label products in the country, manufacturing 3,000 «Made in France» references. Agromousquetaires produces for various partners, but mainly for the Intermarché chain. With 1,840 outlets in France, Intermarché with its unique “Producers & Traders” model is the 2nd largest independent French retailer.

For information about Agromousquetaires, visit Mousquetaires.com

About Les Alchimistes

Les Alchimistes is a young socially responsible company. Its mission is to collect organic waste coming from the cities (restaurants, hospitals, schools, supermarkets, citizens,…) and turn it into premium quality compost. The compost created by Les Alchimistes feeds the soils and contributes to green the cities and make them more resilient to climate change. Les Alchimistes network covers 9 regions in France with 60 people working every day to create the magic of compost. Les Alchimistes also actively work on creating a new branch to turn compostable diapers into compost. 

For information about Les Alchimistes, visit Les Achimistes.co

For media inquiries, contact Maïvenn Mollet maiwenn@alchimistes.co.