Looking forward to another year of composting

Happy end of 2018 everyone! I hope that everyone had a lovely Christmas with quality family time. I’m currently enjoying catching up with the US side of the family, while thinking of the Aussie side as you all battle through a heatwave in Canberra and Melbourne. It’s not too cold over here, currently only about -4 degrees Celsius so it’s not all that different from a Canberra winter. I suppose with the heatwave in Canberra the heap might be drying out a bit, although if there are continuing injections of vegetable waste that will add some valuable moisture. My thoughtful husband actually got me a two foot long, heavy duty thermometer as well as a moisture sensor for the heap for Christmas 🙂 So you can expect this blog to get a touch more nerdy as I try and chart some parameters next year!

But first I’d like to reflect on the year we’ve just had. There has been so much wonderful composting activity. I’ve been blown away by the engagement and gratitude of you all! It’s been wonderful to see so many people in our community who appreciate the benefits of composting kitchen waste. For my efforts in transforming this waste I have received Patreon donations, cash, wine, homemade preserves and jam, cake and more. All of this certainly spurs me on to do even more. Perhaps even more encouraging, are some of the feedback comments from HCC contributors, with sentiments along the lines of “I feel so much better about my waste footprint now!” or “I don’t have to take the bin out as often!”. Another fantastic aspect has been the ability to give out bags and bags full of compost, and thinking of all the lovely plants that will be enjoying the rich organic matter therein.

The last few months of the year may have gotten away from me in terms of record keeping but I can easily say that HCC has processed a few thousand litres of kitchen scraps this year. Hundreds of litres of chunky style compost have gone back into local gardens as a result. A few lucky members were able to snatch up some of the ‘black gold’, the sieved compost fines which can be used in multiple ways. All of these efforts, with everyone doing the right thing with source separation has meant that collectively we have avoided the generation of a large amount of methane* from this waste stream. So we’re all doing great things to protect our environment for a more pleasant future.

Of course there is always room for improvement. There are many little details I’m excited to work on and improve in 2019 to enable even more composting: smoothly run bucket pick-ups, well timed turning for efficient processing and even some building of new garden beds and more space for composting 🙂 To help me get loads more done I’ve reduced my paid work hours in 2019. Wednesday afternoons in 2019 are now devoted to compost turning. No more rushing home after work in winter to try and beat the sunset. As a result I’m going to request (small) monetary contributions from any new contributors, but I can explain all that in another blog post. Of course there will be discounts for those living in apartments etc. because one of the main aims of the HCC is to provide composting services for those that would otherwise have a hard time disposing of their kitchen scraps responsibly.

I’d also like to give a big shout out to Zoe, HCC’s first official employee! (ok, maybe Scott is employee no. 1, although he has never been paid money for the privilege). Zoe is looking after the heap while I’m OS, doing the hard work of carrying binloads of scraps up to the heap and layering with carbon-rich materials when needed. The soldier flies and worms aren’t at risk of going hungry.

Goofy smiles from a couple of compost nuts 🙂 (Zoe on the right)

That’s probably enough from me for now. I’m going to get back to enjoying this relaxing time of year but I just wanted to touch base to let everyone know that I’m super grateful for everyone else’s gratitude and to share my enthusiasm for even more composting in 2019!!

-Brook

*This reminds me, I will write a future blog post all about how composting helps to avoid methane getting into our atmosphere as a result of food waste breaking down in landfill.

 

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