Open day re-cap and local (zero waste!) coffee

Last month we had the 3rd HCC open day. As per the other two open days there were plenty of folks curious to see how it was all managed, in terms of processing food scraps from lots of local households in a relatively small space.

Satisfying compost curiosity with a nice sense of community

This time it was also a mini-working bee though, with motivated HCC contributors and volunteers helping out with various tasks such as leaf shredding, paper tearing and compost sieving. It was really nice for me to know that I’m not alone in finding manual paper shredding quite relaxing, HCC regular contributor Nat agreed and in fact the whole team of paper shredders were quite disappointed when we ran out paper! I’ll have to get some more old newspapers from the IGA. Watch this space for a paper tearing mindfulness and community event sometime in the near future 🙂

And to spur on all this work we had Tony from Maitland Street roasters to provide us with delicious coffee. How great is it that we have our own coffee roaster business right here in Hackett? Even better, Tony has set up his business to be as sustainable as possible and he is proving coffee beans to local residents with absolutely no wasteful packaging. Instead, he uses these really nifty tins, which keep the coffee fresh and can be refilled regularly.

Maitland Street roaster coffee beans can also be purchased at Hackett IGA. These are sold in compostable bags. Tony gave me some sample used bags a few months back and I have been monitoring their degradation in the compost heap. First, I cut the bags into strips and then stuck them in some plastic netting so that they would be easy to find again within the heap. Although the heap is constantly at around 70 degrees celsius they are still taking quite a while to break down (see below for the before and after photos). I put in the trickest parts of the bags, with corners or the press-seal part. The bags are likely a combination of cellulose (paper) and polylactic acid (PLA). Both of these can break down in the industrial composting conditions that we employ at HCC but the PLA might take quite a while to break down depending on the exact specifications and how much of it has been used (eg. to make the press-seal part). There is evidence of fungal hyphae infiltrating the bag material though so the biodegradable claim of this particular brand of bags seems to be holding up!

A much better option than the compostable bags is refilling those tins though! So it’s wonderful news to hear that Hackett IGA could be stocking those tins soon (for refilling!) alongside the bags of coffee beans. Let all your coffee aficionado friends know 🙂

It really is very encouraging to see many small measures* being taken towards direct climate action, such as reducing our waste footprint, and then utilising waste as a resource. If you want to hear about some of these activities, and especially if you want to get involved in helping out then make sure to come along to the next HCC open day or event.

*Speaking of small measures, our ‘Small measures Project’ is a big thing! Exciting developments with the HCC. But I’ll have to write about that in the next blog post ; )

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