The idea for Little & Brave started with a full wheelie bin. A wheelie bin that belonged to us, Tahlia and Semisi Hutchison.
“We were already pretty good at recycling, and had a compost bin at home. But we were horrified when we realised that most weeks our red wheelie bin was 95% nappies. We were even more horrified when we discovered just how many disposables get thrown away every year.”
Nappies are a significant problem waste stream in New Zealand. On average, over 1 million conventional disposables are sent to landfill every single day. These nappies can take centuries to break down. The sheer volume of nappies means that some council figures indicate that disposables make up 5% – 45% of the domestic waste stream in New Zealand.
“We tried cloth, but it just didn’t work for our family. The only other option seemed to be disposables, all of which end up in landfill. This wasn’t a good option either. There had to be a better way.”
After finding that there wasn’t an easy and readily available compostable or biodegradable disposable nappy, we went on an international search to find a solution. This led us to Tasmania, and scientist, business woman and Mum, Sue Allison-Rogers of Kuver Designs. Working alongside Sue, we spent the first 12 months perfecting the nappies for Kiwi families before launching in 2018. This process meant that we were able to create a nappy that combined the convenience of a disposable with the sustainability of cloth.
“Parenting is tough. We get that, we’re parents too. We wanted to provide Kiwi families with an earth-friendly option that didn’t compromise on effectiveness or convenience, or mean hours of scrubbing poo. We believe that we have done that with Little & Brave Eco Nappies and we love sharing them.”
The Little & Brave eco nappy is a two-part system. A commercially compostable eco nappy inner and a washable, reusable fabric snap wrap or snap pant outer. This maximises a snug, dry fit, with the added benefit of the eco nappy inner being commercially compostable. We are also so proud of the fact that our nappies are renewable- and plant-based. They are made from sustainable materials like FSC-certified wood fluff pulp (a first for New Zealand), corn-based PLA instead of oil-based plastic and a cloth-feel rayon outer, also made from plants. With two small children of our own, and another on the way, we have been in a great position to test the effectiveness of the nappies first hand, from newborn through to toddler age. So we can honestly say that we love and trust the product enough to use it on our children too!
We also spent a lot of time finding a way to compost the nappies. It was critical for us that we could find a legitimate end-of-life destination for the nappies. So in true Kiwi Number 8 Wire fashion, we opened our own commercial composting plant here in Auckland. To date we have diverted over 100-metric tonnes of soiled nappies and organic waste from Auckland and Whangarei landfills. By opening our own commercial composting plant we have been able to ‘close the loop’ in our biggest city, and help Kiwi families make a world changing decision, that doesn’t change their already busy lives. We’ve also proven that this world-first model for disposable nappies can and does work.
The momentum we have created has been further supported by our launch into selected Countdown and Huckleberry stores around Auckland in 2019. With convenient locations to shop and buy, we are making it easier than ever for families to use our products. Our online store, and Drop & Collect Service, also continues to be very popular and we are proud of everything we have achieved to date.
The first year of our business has proven that Kiwi families are ready for a sustainable disposable nappy option. The fact that so many families are willing to drop the nappies to us to be composted shows that there truly is a place for a disposable nappy that is circular.
If you are looking to make a change for the planet, that won’t change your life, we would love to introduce you to the Little & Brave Eco Baby range.
Tahlia & Semisi Hutchison