Nappy-composting plant proposed for Hutt Valley

KATE NEWTON
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2011

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A nappy-composting plant could open in the Wellington region early next year, with a feasibility study given the green light.

The Government's waste minimisation fund has provided a $30,000 grant for Canterbury company Envirocomp to assess whether a plant in the Hutt Valley should go ahead.

A similar plant that opened in Canterbury in 2009 has so far composted five million disposable nappies.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said there were an estimated 17,500 babies aged under 2 1/2 in the Wellington region wearing disposable nappies, producing 6600 tonnes of waste each year.

"The aim is to divert 1000 tonnes of this waste every year into the new composting facility."

Disposable nappies were convenient for busy modern families but a growing number of parents were concerned about the impact of waste on the environment, he said. "This innovation enables parents to enjoy the convenience without getting the environmental guilts."

The nappies are composted in an enclosed unit.

The resulting compost cannot be used for vegetable gardens but is safe for landscaping uses.

Parents would be able to pay a weekly fee of about $4 to compost their child's nappies, with the charge funding the service.

Envirocomp founder Karen Upston said the company did not know yet how many jobs the plant could create, or where in Hutt Valley it would be located.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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