Come to our Mills St. composter launch and info session to learn what is possible

If you’re not particularly interested in composting or gardening then you’re exactly who we’d like to chat with! Of course we’re happy to share composting tips with fellow plant lovers and we’re expecting a few on the 15th. At HCC we’re all about composting in the most effective way and we’re always happy to share knowledge for anyone wishing to improve their composting skills.

So why we do we want to speak to non-gardeners? We want to change the conversation around compost. While the end product is bloomin’ marvelous stuff (to quote the venerable Peter Cundall) and of great interest to gardeners we’re equally interested in the stuff that becomes compost, the feedstock, the scraps that we all generate in our homes.

We’ve been led to believe that these kitchen scraps are icky things, of less than zero value and that the correct way to deal with them is to toss them into the bin where they’ll do us no more harm. It turns out the opposite is true. In terms of value, our soils are severely lacking in nutients and organic matter, the exact stuff of these scraps. And while they can certainly become icky this is condition-dependent. The absolute worst conditions for them are when they are hidden away in plastic bags, followed by incubation in a plastic bin for a week and then compressed in huge landfills, which slowly turns them into the very potent greenhouse gas: methane.

The good news is that we know exactly how to recover and make the best use of these resources. In doing so we not only prevent a little bit of climate change, we can actually reverse the effect of landfill gas because well composted materials are an effective way of storing carbon in the soil (don’t be fooled, landfill is not!).

In times such as these with the recycling crisis on our hands it’s comforting to know that the humble composter (ours are a little more beautiful than most!) is a PROVEN solution to our waste problem (at least in terms of organic wastes, veggie scraps etc). Although to some it might not be as impressive as a big stainless steel piece of infrastructure such as a biodigester or waste to energy plant it’s vastly cheaper and easier to implement and a superior environmental option too.

We’re super excited that our ‘Small Measures’ Project, incorporating the Mills St. Composter and funded by an ACTSmart Community Zero Emissions grant allows us to ground truth some ‘back of the envelope’ calculations in regards to composting efficiency. The Mills st. Composter is currently processing 100 kg of food waste. That amount has been slowly fed in over the last month (a quiet time during school holidays). We know it can handle at least 4x that amount, and with continual turnover as well. This means that it would only take 5 or 6 of these units dotted around our streets to service the entire suburb of Hackett (allowing for the fact that a certain proportion of residents compost in their own backyards or feed their own or neighbours chickens).

If we were to remove kitchen scraps from the household waste stream, and recycle them right within our suburb instead, and if more people also recycled all of their soft plastics, and also utilized the governments new hard waste pickups then it could become reasonable to move to fortnightly red lidded bin pickup. Is this something that the residents of Hackett and beyond could celebrate?

Maybe. But for the plant lovers amongst us we can at least celebrate that we’re making great plant nourishing soil right here in Hackett 🙂

Please RSVP to Brook@compost.org.au if coming along to the launch and info session, just so we can make sure there is enough cake 🙂

climate mitigation, community, compost, organics recycling, waste management

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