Health   family hero default

Disposable nappies go green

A composting service for disposable nappies is available in Wellington and Christchurch.


Choose what’s right for you with confidence

Join today and get instant access to all test results and research.

Join Consumer Now

Cloth nappies aren’t as absorbent as disposable nappies and there are times when even staunch cloth-nappy users turn to the dark side. Now there’s a business that can help ease the guilt.

Envirocomp offers a composting service for disposable nappies. It started as a school science project and has become a large home-grown business that helps parents reduce some of the environmental impact of their little ones.

The thousands of disposable nappies each child might go through in its early years have the potential to become toxic waste when they end up in the landfill. Envirocomp worked out that only around 10 percent of a used nappy is plastic, and the rest makes great compost. They take the used nappies, shred them, run them through an industrial scale hot-composting process and then remove the shredded plastic.

There are some minor downsides – like having to store the used nappies until you have a full bag to take to your nearest drop-off bin. So they can get a bit “whiffy”. A plastic bin with a secure lid and an outside storage area helps with this.

As a rough guide, each bag Envirocomp supplies takes two children who are part-time in disposable nappies between 10 and 14 days to fill.

Envirocomp operates in Wellington and Christchurch and in the south east of England, if anyone from the UK’s reading this. Bags and a bin-access swipe card cost between $6 and $7 per bag (exact cost depends on how many you buy).

To encourage fewer nappies being sent to landfills, many local councils offer subsidies of a dollar per bag. These councils are listed on the company's website.

More information