Environmentally friendly diapers that can be safely burned or flushed down the toilet could soon become reality following the invention by a Japanese firm of a new water-absorbing resin.

The new resin, that is “made of guar gum and can be dissolved by micro-organisms” in water, can also be buried to help desert greening, according to Norihisa Sasaki, a spokesman for textiles firm Unitika Ltd.

The company has used the resin and special textiles to make prototype diapers that completely break down into water and carbon dioxide, he said.