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Turning nappies into compost wins award

3rd June 2008

Turning nappies into compost wins prestigious Green Ribbon Award for the Huggies Envirocomp Solution

The first commercial nappy composting operation has received the Green Ribbon Award for Making a Difference to Household Sustainability at the Ministry for the Environment’s 2008 Awards.

Grant Hartley, Head of Marketing said that Karen and Karl Upston deserved to win this supreme award for showing the world what can be done with a bit of Kiwi ingenuity:-

“We are delighted that Karen and Karl have been honored for what is already a remarkable achievement. They have turned a concept about composting disposable nappies into a commercial business which will open in Canterbury later this year. On the way they have teamed up with R5 Solutions to provide the technology, got Hurunui council on board to provide the land and signed a sponsorship deal with Kimberly-Clark NZ maker of Huggies® one of the world’s leading nappy brands.”

“In doing this they achieve the aims of the Waste Bill–collaborative product stewardship which brings together small enterprise, the local community, local and central government and a major brand to give New Zealand what is quite possibly the first commercial nappy composting operation in the world.”

Many individuals and organizations including Canterbury pre schools and residential care homes supported Hurunui District Council in nominating Envirocomp Solution for the Award.

Karen Upston, Founder of Envirocomp is delighted to accept the award on behalf of everyone that has helped them turn a dream into reality:-

“During the trial which we ran last year we were surprised by the sheer number of people waiting for this type of service to be made available and prepared to travel and pay for it. They want to use disposable nappies but they don’t want to have to feel guilty about it. These days our lives are busier and we live in a more disposable world, mums are going back to work sooner and when they get home from work they want to spend quality time with children not washing nappies”

“Whilst nappies actually represent less than 2% of landfill, much less than food scraps and organic waste we wanted to find a realistic alternative to landfill. Once the facility is operational later this year, Canterbury families will have another option – send their nappies to us and we will turn them into compost along with other green waste generated within the Waimakariri and Hurunui Districts.”

Karen says that she hopes that winning the Green Ribbon Award will encourage other councils and communities to consider the Envirocomp Solution:

“With the support of Huggies® and Hurunui District Council we will have the first commercial nappy composting facility here in New Zealand. We encourage councils subsidizing cloth nappies to look at following Hurunui’s leadership and support something parents do want which is a credible and efficient alternative solution to landfill.”

The plant will initially compost 2.5 tonnes of waste per day or the equivalent of 15,000 nappies and is able to quadruple to meet demand.

Details can be found on

For information

Some of the people supporting this nomination

Tim Fitzgerald Director Frontier Group – Business Advisor

“Envirocomp will prove to be yet another innovative New Zealand company that has put New Zealand on the forefront of innovation in the global market place – in this case in waste minimization. Karen and Karl Upston deserve both recognition but more importantly support from the Government and the Ministry for the Environment in ensuring New Zealand as a nation takes up this initiative nationally and regionally and we a nation lead the world, yet again.”

Nicky Wagner National Party MP based in Christchurch gave her support to the project:-

“The technology solves an environmental problem –for many of us the convenience and ease of using disposable nappies had been spoilt by guilt over what to do with the used ones. And it provides an environmental answer – recent research is promoting the use of compost on a commercial scale to improve soil quality, increase productivity and as a method of carbon sequestration

Mary Papp – Supervisor Rainbow Preschool

“At the time of the trial we had around 120 children on our whole school role and approximately 45 of them were using nappies. The benefits were that we know that we were diverting our disposable nappies and other waste such as the huge number of paper towels we use each day from landfill. It reduced our rubbish by at least one large bin per week and we effectively replaced this bin with sending a drum of nappies plus other materials to Karen’s composting trial. Based on our experience, we believe that there will be a great deal of demand for the facility.”


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