New Zealand-based firm Envirocomp is to open its first UK nappy composting plant in Rochester this autumn.
The company, owned by UK-based OCS Group, will compost waste from absorbent hygiene products (AHP) including nappies, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence.
Based in an existing waste facility in Rochester, the plant will compost up to 6.5 million AHP products per year.
AHP waste will be collected from the commercial customers of Cannon Hygiene, another subsidiary of OCS. This will help to reduce Cannon’s customers’ carbon footprint and minimise waste transit times.
Envirocomp has been operating two similar plants in Canterbury and Wellington, New Zealand, since 2009. They worked with New Zealand-based HotRot Organic Solutions using in-vessel composting technology with “zero leachate and an odour free guarantee”.
The company explains on its website that AHP waste is processed with green waste in composting units that reach specific temperatures for more than a fortnight to kill any pathogens and ensure full composting. Then, the compost is screened for any non-compostable materials, including plastics. The compost is then quality control tested.
In New Zealand, the plastic residue from the AHPs is sent for incineration. An Envirocomp spokesman told MRW that the firm was “currently looking at options around EfW” in the UK.
He added: “Our current experience shows that plastic makes up around 6.2% of the standard (wet) weight of the output and that around 10.75% of the output will go for EfW (includes oversize organic particles post screening).”
Envirocomp director Andy Band said: “As a proven process [Envirocomp] will offer a real alternative for companies in the region, who wish to avail of a fully environmentally-friendly solution to their waste management. We anticipate bringing Envirocomp plants to other parts of the UK in the near future.”
According to Envirocomp, 2.7 billion disposable nappies are bought in the UK every year. All AHPs generate more than 600,000 tonnes of waste each year.
- Earlier this month Canadian company Knowaste closed its only UK nappy recycling facility in West Bromwich, seeking a site with better infrastructure to deal with plastic and fibre waste. Councils were disappointed with the closure due the lack of forewarning and the potentially negative impact on their recycling figures.