Disposable nappies have always ended up in landfill or incineration. But now there’s a new solution to this big environmental problem.
Envirocomp, a New Zealand company owned by international facilities management services group, OCS, is opening a plant at Rochester, Kent, to turn nappies into compost. It’s a first for the UK.
Nappies are shredded, combined with green waste and composted. The plastics are then removed, leaving the compost.
Karen Upston, the New Zealand mother of two who founded the company, said:
“Four years after we began operating in New Zealand, it’s great to see our first nappy composting plant about to start in the UK.
“Being part of the OCS Group has offered the opportunity to bring the Envirocomp solution worldwide. We already have plans for even more in the UK and elsewhere. I am really excited and optimistic that one day most of this type of waste will be recycled and our dream from way back will become a global reality for mums, dads and future generations.”
Compost produced at the Rochester plant will be used initially for land restoration. The plastics separated out as part of the process can be used in waste to energy plants and research is under way to look at recycling options.
The nappies and other waste from washrooms will be collected from commercial premises by Envirocomp’s sister company, Cannon Hygiene. Domestic collections, currently part of the New Zealand service, will be considered at a later stage.
The Rochester plant can compost up to 6.5 million nappies and other products per year. That’s out of 2.7 billion disposable nappies that UK households purchase.