Closing the loop on nappy recycling


Left to right: Jacquie Fegent-McGeachie, Head of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability Kimberly-Clark;
John Nolan-Neylan, General Manager Relivit NSW; Robbert Rietbroek, Managing Director Kimberly-Clark Australia & New Zealand


Kimberly-Clark Australia, maker of market leading Huggies® Nappies, is partnering with an innovative start-up company called Relivit, who are pursuing Australia’s first solution to recycling disposable nappies, female hygiene and adult incontinence products also known as absorbent hygiene waste.

Relivit has developed an Australian-first business model and technology that allows over 95% of absorbent hygiene waste to be diverted away from landfill, meaning used disposable nappies, female hygiene and adult incontinence will become almost completely recyclable.

“For years we have been working hard to identify a waste processing option that would enable our Huggies Nappies, Poise® and Depend® adult care products, and our U by Kotex® female hygiene products to be recycled post use. To date, there has been no technology in Australia to recycle and recover the materials of these products. Therefore, we’re thrilled to be supporting Relivit in establishing Australia’s first absorbent hygiene waste facility,” says Jacquie Fegent-McGeachie, Head of Sustainability & Corporate Affairs at Kimberly-Clark Australia & New Zealand.

“We believe that Relivit’s business model, which is set to make recycling Absorbent Hygiene Waste cheaper than landfill, will be a game changer for waste management in Australia. Relivit has the technology to recover the materials from absorbent hygiene products post-use and will help to address landfill. Therefore, partnering with Relivit makes both business and environmental sense,” says Fegent-McGeachie.

Initially, Kimberly-Clark will send manufacturing waste from its Huggies Nappy Mill in South-West Sydney to Relivit for recycling, diverting it from landfill. In addition, an exclusive partnership with the Huggies brand will give consumers in the future the option to recycle their nappies and other absorbent hygiene waste for the first time in Australia.

Mark Dunn, Managing Director of Relivit, is excited about the new agreement saying, “To have a company like Kimberly-Clark get behind and partner with us is a tremendous opportunity, particularly given the reach and influence of their market leading brands like Huggies”.

“With Kimberly-Clark on-board, joining our other partners Initial Hygiene and Bunzl Outsourcing Services, we’re hoping to secure the final piece of funding needed to start building our first facility in NSW. This will allow us to create 70 new, sustainable jobs, divert tens of thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill and reclaim millions of dollars’ worth of materials. The facility would save the same carbon emissions as removing 5,625 cars from our roads, if each was to drive 15,000 km a year,” Dunn explained.

Relivit have worked to secure a site on the south coast of NSW that will service from Newcastle and the Lower Hunter through the Central Coast and Sydney, down to Wollongong and the Southern Illawarra.

Once the targeted capital investment has been secured, Relivit’s first-of-a-kind plant in Australia will recover the paper fibre, plastic and super absorbent polymer (SAP) contained in absorbent hygiene waste to be used to manufacture new products such as park benches, building materials and more.  

This partnership with Relivit complements and builds on Kimberly-Clark’s award winning sustainability program which has been recognised over the past two years in the prestigious Banksia Awards.

“We have set ourselves ambitious sustainability targets around post-consumer waste and diverting manufacturing waste from landfill and are pleased that this partnership with Relivit will bring us closer to achieving these goals,” concludes Fegent-McGeachie.