Govt funding helps recycle millions of nappies

Thursday 25 October 2012, 1:16PM
By Amy Adams

A world-leading recycling facility opened today by Environment Minister Amy Adams will compost millions of disposable nappies each year.

The purpose-built plant in Upper Hutt will break down disposable nappies into a safe, odourless compost, instead of sending them to landfill.

"This is the sort of initiative that this Government wants to back. It is the first of its kind in the world to be composting nappies and is a great example of a New Zealand business taking the lead in waste minimisation," Ms Adams says.

It is estimated there are about 17,500 babies aged under two and a half in the Wellington region wearing disposable nappies, producing more than 6600 tonnes of waste each year.

EnviroComp aims to compost about 1000 tonnes of this waste each year through its Upper Hutt plant – about five million nappies - with capacity for the plant to quadruple in size.

The company has already composted about 16 million nappies at its North Canterbury operation since it opened in 2009.

EnviroComp was awarded $730,000 from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund to carry out a feasibility study and then set up the plant.

The Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects which increase resource efficiency and decrease the amount of waste going to landfill. Money for the fund comes from a waste levy charged on material disposed of at landfills.

"Supporting a project like EnviroComp’s is a practical way the Government can encourage New Zealanders to reuse, recycle, recover and decrease the amount of waste going to our landfills.

"I encourage other manufacturers and distributors to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products once they reach the end of their lifecycle."

For more information about the Waste Minimisation Fund go to: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/waste/waste-minimisation-fund/index.html