Mulch magic the gas

Mt HAWTHORN’S community composting station has helped divert 750 litres of organic waste from landfill in just its first month.

Instead of the waste festering in a mountain of rubbish – turning into methane as it breaks down under anaerobic conditions – the scraps get broken down in aerobic conditions and can be used as compost.

The station was started by local environment group Transition Town Vincent using a grant awarded under the city’s community budgeting scheme.

Veggie scraps

Transition member Chris Cutress says the amount of organic waste they’ve collected is “absolutely fantastic: it’s exceeded our expectations greatly”.

He stops at the composting station, situated beside Floreat Athena Football Club, on his bike ride to work and gives the composting tumblers a couple of turns.

“It’s great we’re getting heaps of people involved and a lot of the local community is bringing their veggie scraps and kitchen scraps down.”

He’d already been composting at home, but the community station means people in small apartments or with teeny gardens can chip in.

• Lee Goodall, Irma Lachmund, Behrooz Eslam and Chris Cutress loading up the composting barrel with mulch. Photo supplied

Anyone who contributes is welcome to pick up some compost when it’s ready.

“It means we can keep these nutrients local,” Mr Cutress says. “It might encourage people to grow their own veggies in the backyard.”

Mr Cutress says he joined TTV because he had a background in environmental management and sustainability, “so I wanted to put something of that back into the community … to get the community a bit more involved in these sorts of things – food production, backyard chickens, the stuff I grew up with.

“As people have smaller blocks and less time and inclination to do these things, a lot of these arts get lost, so I wanted my kids to be able to appreciate this stuff.”

The group takes any plant-based veggie scraps, but not meat or dairy.

The scraps gets mixed in with council mulch and take six to eight weeks to break down into humus.

If you want to start putting your scraps to good use check out the Facebook page “Community Composting Station”.

by DAVID BELL

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