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 wholly compostable or biodegradable disposable nappy, we went on an international search to find a solution.
This led us to Tasmania, and scientist, business woman. Mum and Grand-Aunty, Sue Allison-Rogers of Kuver Designs. Working alongside Sue, we spent most of 2017 and early 2018 perfecting the nappies for Kiwi families.
The nappy is comprised of a two-part system. A wholly compostable eco nappy pad and a washable, reusable fabric wrap or nappy pant. This maximises a snug, dry fit, with the added benefit of the eco nappy being fully compostable. With two small children of our own, we have been in a great position to test the effectiveness of the nappies first hand, from newborn through to toddler age. Our experience was so successful that we knew that we had to share the nappies with other Kiwi parents.
“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 can’t wait to share them.”
In 2018 we also spent a lot of time finding a way to compost the nappies. We were determined to deliver on our commitment to diverting waste from landfill and find a way to compost our product if we were able to. This lead to opening our own commercial composting plant in Penrose, Auckland. We also opened our own drop and collect service, with fresh nappies delivered to a customer’s door, and soiled nappies being taken away. 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. In December 2018, we were able to extend our service to Whangarei families as well.
Since we opened our composting facility in September 2018 we have diverted over 30,000kgs of nappies and organic waste from landfill, and developed a working model for our ‘world first’ facility. Outside of Auckland, we are exploring ways that we can provide our composting service to other regions, or gain access for our products to other facilities. We are actively looking for local partners, both private and public, to make this a reality.
We can’t wait to welcome you to the Little & Brave Family.