The Story of Ayumi Matsuzaka

Find out how Ayumi Matsuzaka used her soil art to inspire 100% compostable, plastic-free diapers that are turned into nutrient-rich fertiliser!

The first completely biodegradable diaper

“The first time I tried to compost “eco” diapers in 2014, I failed. In my compost box, there were so many pieces of microplastic and SAP (super absorbent polymer). As my compost worms were trying to eat these plastic particles, I thought to myself ‘There’s something wrong!’ From this failed experiment, I learned that there was no plastic-free and chemical-free baby diaper available on the market. So I founded the first team of DYCLE – Diaper Cycle in 2015. We strictly select our diaper materials to produce 100% compostable diaper inlays that are safe for babies and improve soil quality, too.”

 

Using art to inspire a plastic-free solution

“As a soil artist, I gained experience in creating a high-quality soil, called Terra Preta, from all kinds of organic waste, including human hair, nails and excreta, which I was collecting from galleries and museums. I infused this knowledge into the DYCLE system; in this process, the participating families and our team use 100% compostable diaper inlays, which we collect and turn into a rich, fertile soil that can be used for planting fruit trees. In this way, we preserve nutrients, feed them back into the natural cycle, and improve soil fertility. DYCLE shows that it’s possible to adopt a circular approach, in cooperation with nature and without any plastic!”

 

“Start with what you have! Use your talent, knowledge, resources, and network – no matter how large!”

 

From idea to a new circular system in five years

“After starting from scratch, we’re now getting closer to building the world’s first semi-automated diaper production together with our partners! I, as a founder, took on the role of weaving the aspirations and contributions of over 100 individuals and experts, including the City of Berlin; they all contributed their valuable knowledge, networks, skills and time to the Diaper Cycle concept and supported our successful 2017 test run. I couldn’t be prouder that in 2019, we’ll kick off our continued operations with many Berlin parent communities. What we’ve accomplished isn’t just another new product, but something that supports a new system and circular way of living.”

 

Changing the mindset of the next generation

“I can imagine a description, telling us the Diaper Cycle is circular systems for local resources. It encourages people to start planting fruit and nut trees, and ultimately to make our cities greener and restore biodiversity. This system is for all citizens, especially for future generations. What I like to believe is that the babies and toddlers of today will grow up with a completely new concept of sanitation. 50 years from now, they’ll find totally normal to compost their household organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil!”

Are you a higher vocational or university student graduating on the topic of plastic waste or clean water? Sign up for the Dopper Changemaker Challenge by 12 April! You could win a research grant to boost your final Bachelor or Master’s project!

 

More about changemaker Ayumi

Ayumi Matsuzaka is a Berlin-based action artist and impact entrepreneur and Ashoka Circular Future Leader. Her expertise lies in connecting our body to the natural cycle by transforming any organic waste, including hair, nails and excreta, into fertile soil. After being invited over several years to share her know-how to curious audiences at museums and galleries, she added ‘entrepreneur’ next to ‘artist’ on her resume by founding DYCLE – Diaper Cycle, which makes soil from compostable diapers. Connect with Ayumi on LinkedIn and watch this video to learn how DYCLE works.