成人尿布:日本的新燃料来源 | 纽约时报




A New Source of Fuel in an Aging Japan: 
Adult Incontinence

成人尿布:日本的新燃料来源 | 纽约时报


The restorative waters that flow into the public baths in this town near the coast of western Japan originate from hot springs more than two-thirds of a mile below ground. At the surface, before the water bubbles out of the spouts, it is further heated to 107 degrees Fahrenheit — an ideal temperature for cleansing and soaking weary muscles.



But unbeknown to most bathers, the boiler heating the water runs on a fuel with the uncleanliest of origins: pellets recycled from soiled adult diapers.



  • 本段语言知识点积累

restorative /rɪ'stɒrətɪv/ 恢复健康(体力)的:making you feel healthier or stronger,比如说:•the restorative power of sleep睡眠的恢复功效。
hot spring 温泉 a place where hot water comes up naturally from the ground
weary /'wɪərɪ/ 〔尤指因长期做某事而〕筋疲力尽的,非常疲劳的,厌倦的:very tired or bored, especially because you have been doing something for a long time,举个例子:•She found Rachel in the kitchen, looking old and weary.她发现雷切尔在厨房里,看上去苍老而疲惫。
【近义词拓展】tired, drained, exhausted, fatigued, flagging, jaded, worn out
diaper /'daɪəpə/ 尿布,尿片a piece of soft cloth or soft paper that is put between a baby's legs and fastened around its waist to hold liquid and solid waste


In rapidly aging Japan, more diapers are used by older, incontinent people than by babies. As the country groans under the weight of ever-rising mountains of this waste, the town of Houki has become a pioneer in trying to reduce it. By recycling the diapers, which represent about a tenth of the town’s trash, it has diverted garbage that would otherwise be dumped in incinerators and add emissions to the atmosphere.



With many other nations facing a similar demographic implosion, adult diaper waste is a stealthy challenge that looms alongside labor shortages in nursing homes and insufficiently funded pension systems.




  • 本段语言知识点积累

incinerator /ɪn'sɪnəreɪtə/  焚化装置;焚化炉;An incinerator is a special large container for burning rubbish at a very high temperature.

stealthy /'stelθɪ/  悄悄的,鬼鬼祟祟的,偷偷的:moving or doing something quietly and secretly,比如说:•the stealthy approach of the soldiers士兵悄悄的靠近

【近义词拓展】furtive, secretive, sneaking, surreptitious


loom v.〔问题或困难〕逼近,临近:if a problem or difficulty looms, it is likely to happen very soon,比如说:•An economic crisis is looming on the horizon .经济危机正在逼近。


“When you think about it, it is a difficult and big problem,” said Kosuke Kawai, a senior researcher at the National Institute for Environmental Studies. “Japan and other developed countries will face similar problems in the future.”



In Houki, a town of just over 10,500 people in Tottori Prefecture, officials were worried about the fast-growing diaper waste and looking at the costs to upgrade an outdated incinerator. They decided to convert one of the town’s two incinerators into the diaper recycling plant and produce fuel that would help reduce natural gas heating costs at the public bathhouse as well.



At the baths, there is nothing advertising the provenance of the boiler fuel. Satomi Shirahase, 45, who was visiting with her husband from Kyoto, was unperturbed when she learned of the source of the heat.



The recycling effort “sounds pretty good to me,” she said in the dressing room after hiking on nearby Mount Daisen, which strongly resembles the more renowned Mount Fuji. “I am not creeped out. It was good water.”



The diaper challenge is especially great in Japan, where more than 80 percent of the country’s waste goes to incinerators — higher than in any other wealthy nation — despite a near obsession with sorting trash. While most other sources of waste are declining in volume as the Japanese population shrinks, incontinence products for seniors are growing by the ton.



Because diapers contain so much cotton pulp and plastic, and swell to four times their original weight after soiling, they require much more fuel to burn than other sources of waste. That leads to costly waste management bills for local municipalities and high volumes of damaging carbon emissions.



via 英语书架