By the time the average child is completely potty trained, he or she will have experienced between 6,000 and 10,000 diaper changes. According to industry data from Franklin Associates and the American Petroleum Institute, it takes 3.5 billion gallons of oil as well as 250,000 trees to produce the 18 billion throwaway diapers used annually in the United States alone.
This is a shocking waste of resources, so many eco-conscious families opt for cloth diapers that can be washed and reused. But most parents will tell you that adding 2-5 extra loads of laundry to their list of weekly chores is far from ideal. Plus, washing and drying these diapers in a conventional machine can takes its toll on the utility bill as well. While more efficient standalone diaper washers already exist, most are highly labor intensive, lack hot or cold cycles, are awkward to use and are less than aesthetically pleasing (think 10-gallon bucket with a stick). Designer Iven Dieterle wanted to tackle this need for a stylish-yet-sustainable diaper system, and a few hundred sketches later, the Swish concept was born.
The Swish is a sphere-shaped washer system that combines the advantages of both front- and top-loading washers. Photovoltaic and solar thermal collectors are used to power the washer’s motors and efficently heat the water. The Swish also uses a closed life cycle, allowing the the greywater to grow soapnuts that can then be used to sanitize the next load of diapers.
The Swish’s sleek design makes it an acceptable addition to any kitchen, laundry room or nursery, while its self-sufficient features are sure to please those running a family on a tight budget. And if it makes it to the market, the Swish will surely come as a relief to those who have always been put off by the extra work and potential ick factor of cloth diapers.