With the acquisition of innovative Canterbury based company Envirocomp Ltd, facilities services company OCS New Zealand has now gained the technology and experience required to process large volumes of sanitary, nappy and incontinence waste into top quality compost.
Envirocomp yesterday announced plans to open its second plant in the Hutt Valley in early 2012. At the same time founder Karen Upston revealed OCS will be assisting her to take the Envirocomp brand global.
The announcements were made at the launch of a Feasibility Study into establishing a Wellington based plant which was hosted at the Beehive by Canterbury MP Nicky Wagner. Karen Upston told guests including the Minister for the Environment, the Hon Dr Nick Smith, whose Waste Minimisation Fund provided a $30,000 grant for the study:-
"OCS Ltd has acquired a 100% share in Envirocomp and I am tasked with spearheading the launch of additional Envirocomp facilities in New Zealand, Australia, the UK and Europe. This is an exciting new chapter in the Envirocomp story – and one I owe to many people who have believed in the business. Selling was not an easy decision but the team at OCS is absolutely committed to growing the Envirocomp brand and I firmly believe that this is the right decision for Envirocomp."
"In the two years since we opened in Canterbury, we have processed over 5 million nappies into compost. The study we have just completed shows a market similar in size in Wellington and with support from councils in Greater Wellington, we expect to open a plant later this year. Support from the Government's Waste Minimisation Fund, local Government and Kimberly-Clark has been vital to help us establish a business model that has global appeal. However without significant financial backing from the commercial sector we cannot grow at the pace we need to meet demand."
OCS signed up at the start as a user of Envirocomp in Canterbury providing OCS customers including rest homes, shopping malls, businesses and airports with an alternative to landfilling this waste.
Kevin Mulcahy, Managing Director OCS NZ said that investing in Envirocomp makes absolute sense from an economic and environmental perspective:-
"As we talked with Karen about her aspirations for the Envirocomp brand, it became obvious that we could facilitate a step change in the speed with which Envirocomp could meet its objectives. OCS operates in 40 countries around the world and with Karen at the helm we have embarked on a strategy to develop Envirocomp facilities in Australia, UK and mainland Europe within the next 18 months as well as extending our coverage in New Zealand."
Sanitary hygiene waste represents 3% of waste to landfill in New Zealand or approximately 94,680 tonnes of sanitary hygiene waste produced each year.
Between 2002–2004 and 2007–2008, the proportion of nappies and sanitary waste has increased in the New Zealand waste stream because of changing consumption patterns coupled with increasing recyclability of other waste streams. Without introducing an alternative means to disposal of sanitary hygiene waste the proportion of this organic material as a percentage of the total landfill amount will continue to increase.
Statistics around the world show similar trends and with an aging population a third of all sanitary hygiene waste is now adult incontinence products with this market set to increase five- fold according to research in Australia.
OCS are excited about the opportunity the acquisition of Envirocomp presents for their customers, especially high volume commercial operators such as hospitals and rest homes, to enhance their environmental sustainability efforts and reduce or cap their waste disposal costs.