UK's first nappy composting plant set to open next year

A facility which uses pioneering technology from New Zealand to compost disposable nappies is set to open next year.

The composting facility, which shreds nappies and composts them with green waste, has been acquired from New Zealand firm Envirocomp by facility provider OCS the International Services Group in a bid to reduce the number of nappies sent to landfills in the UK each year.

According to OCS, the Envirocomp process provides a more sustainable alternative to landfill and incinerations, helping the UK achieve its national targets to reduce landfill, as nappies and other hygiene products (AHP) generate more than 600,000 tonnes of waste each year, equivalent to over 2% of total landfill space.

As part of the Envirocomp process, which has been developed by Zealanders Karen and Karl Upston in collaboration with biological treatment facility HotRot Organic Solutions using its exiting composting technology, the nappies are composted over a 14-16 day period. During this time the process separates and removes the plastic, making the compost free of pathogens and suitable for horticultural and agricultural purposes.

OCS's regional managing director for Europe, Cecil Ryan, said: "This is a real breakthrough and a first for the UK. Composting marks a step-change in the disposal of nappy waste and we're delighted to be bringing this environmentally-friendly solution to this country."

In Canterbury, New Zealand, households can separate nappies and pay to have them collected, an operation OCS would like to see in the UK.

According to Karen Upston, the technology provides a solution for "families who prefer disposable nappies for convenience but feel guilty about landfill" as the process "offers a way out of the dilemma".

UK company Cannon Hygiene, which provides sustainable washroom solutions to companies worldwide, will work in partnership with Envirocomp to help run the facility, which is expected to open at the start of 2012.

Carys Matthews


nappies | composting


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