The Community Composting Station (CCS) will celebrate its 150th batch of compost in the coming weeks, which is a testament to the community coming together to make use of a valuable resource that would have otherwise ended up in landfill.
Kitchen scraps (for example, vegetable peelings, apple cores, mouldy bread) are brought by local residents to the CCS, where they are emptied into compost bins. An onsite water tank allows residents to wash out their containers, and at the same time sprinkle a bit of water onto a small vegetable garden, which grew naturally out of the compost.
Transition Town Vincent (TTV) volunteers then mix the kitchen scraps with mulch, creating a batch of compost. Over the next 8 weeks, those same volunteers manually aerate and mix the compost, resulting in a high-quality compost that can be used on gardens and verges to deliver much needed nutrients and water-saving organic material to plants and soil.
The CCS has become a hub for discussing all things sustainability, including discussion on reducing food waste, improving productivity in the vegie patch and even seed swapping. Volunteers have also engaged with local residents who are keen to transform an adjacent park into a community food forest, utilising the compost as a source of nutrients for fruit and nut trees.
The presence of the CCS has also spurned some young local entrepreneurs to create small businesses, collecting food scraps from local residents, and transporting them to the CCS for pocket money.
Unintended, but equally positive outcomes have included an increase in the amount and diversity of birdlife in the immediate vicinity of the CCS, feeding on insects, worms and beetles living in the compost. The volume of birdlife around the CCS has also attracted avian predators (eg, Sparrow Hawks), demonstrating a functioning ecosystem in a suburban setting. Trees surrounding the CCS have never looked so well, having a constant source of beneficial nutrients that would not normally occur in the poor soils of the area.
And where do the food scraps come from? Analysis of the log book that was located at the CCS shows that 50% of the food scraps come from within 1km of the CCS, and 80% comes from within 1.6km.
The success of a community initiative such as the CCS cannot be measured just by numbers alone, but a quick glance at the numbers below shows just how impressive the results of this initiative are.
- Number of batches of compost: 150
- Volume of food scraps composted: 33,000 litres (equivalent of 137 wheelie bins)
- Volume of compost produced: 28,000 litres
- Amount of CO2-e saved (if the food scraps had been landfilled): 31 tonnes