Benefits of composting
What is the Compost Collective?
The Compost Collective is a program that supports residents living in multi-unit dwellings to compost. It is implemented by the Community Sustainability Team through their Groundwork initiative.
The aims of the Compost Collective are to:
- Reduce the amount of food scraps being put in the garbage bin
- Help residents to set up a compost system in their residence and provide ongoing support
- Remove the barriers for residents to compost locally through assistance in delivering resources, installing the compost, providing signage and information to strata managers, owners corporations and real estates
- Improve community skill and confidence to use composting systems through on-site training
- Promote skills sharing and peer-supported learning
- Reduce greenhouse gases being produced by preventing food waste going to landfill
- Create healthier urban soils
Who is eligible to join the Compost Collective?
Residents of the former Marrickville Council area that live in multi-unit dwellings, e.g. flats, units or town houses, as well as share houses or households willing to compost together, are eligible to join the Compost Collective.
How can I become involved in the Compost Collective?
Contact Inner West Council's Environment Project Officer (Petersham)—Community Composting, Emma Daniell, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 9335 2129.
What will I get if I join the Compost Collective?
When you join the Compost Collective you will receive:
- A compost bin, compost spiral (aerating tool), signage & stickers, a small kitchen-top caddy (one per participating household) and gloves
- Practical advice and hands-on assistance to set up the composting system
- Ongoing support through follow-up site visits and online problem solving
What does Council require me to do?
- Maintain the compost bin(s) and help to educate and encourage other residents/neighbours wishing to join the project
- Record data of the amount of food scraps placed in the compost bin for the first three months of joining the project
- Promote the Compost Collective and acknowledge Inner West Council’s contribution.
- Inform Council’s Environment Project Officer of the need for support if the compost bin is not functioning well
- Allow Council to inspect bins as part of the project upon reasonable request
- Attend a follow-up composting workshop at the Green Living Centre (GLC) if available
- Let Council take photos for use in promoting the project
How does my involvement benefit my unit block and me?
Compost is a valuable resource. You can use the finished compost you make around garden and lawn areas as a soil food or to top up and feed pot plants. Finished compost improves soil structure and plant health, which is great when growing your own fruit, herbs and vegetables. You can save money by converting your waste into a resource to feed your plants.
Food waste makes up nearly 40% of your red bins, so composting may reduce the number of red bins your unit block needs, saving space in common areas.
Garden ‘green’ waste such as lawn clippings, dry leaves and plant cuttings can be used to add to the compost system, this could assist in keeping communal areas tidy.
Introducing a communal activity such as composting is a great way to meet like-minded people and create neighbourly relations. Through composting you can connect and have a common aim, share skills and ideas – this may lead to other benefits and build community.
Will it really make a difference if I start composting?
Yes—each household can contribute to change by moving towards zero waste! More than 800,000 tonnes of food is thrown away by NSW householders each year—that is 315 kilograms of food waste for each household going to landfill.
By reducing the amount of food waste going to landfill you will contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gases.
Building your soil can make your plants healthier so you will have less need for treating pests (fewer pesticides), reduce the amount of artificial fertilisers needed, and increase the water holding capacity of your soil (therefore using less water).
Taking responsibility for where your waste ends up is a great first step in helping your local environment and living more sustainably.
What if I don’t have much space?
The standard 210 litre compost bin Council provides is approximately 0.8m × 1m, and so doesn't require a large amount of space. The compost bin is best placed on soil, lawn or garden beds.
Will the compost bin smell or attract unwanted creatures?
If you place the correct amount of food waste, dry materials and garden waste in your compost bin, it should not smell bad. There is no composting system that will be totally trouble-free; however, managing the system properly will be the key to its success. A compost system that is set up adequately and is well managed can demonstrate to others an efficient and cost effective way to divert your food waste away from landfill and recycle it back into your garden.
Council will provide the resources and support needed as you learn to get your compost system working well. This will include lining the base of the compost bin with wire to deter rodents from digging underneath. You will soon be able to identify the beneficial creatures that may take up residency in your compost bin ecosystem.
What can I do if some people in my unit block object to setting up a compost bin on our site?
Sometimes people may have negative perceptions or experiences of compost systems, or are not aware of the needs of a compost system.
It is best to communicate with residents on your site and keep people informed about the project from the beginning. This way they will understand what is happening and are able to participate and join if interested. Give people a chance to ask questions and discuss the project with you. If people object, have a chat with them about their concerns—Council’s Environment Project Officer can assist with these discussions.
Common reasons people might object are that they think composts are smelly, dirty or attract flies or vermin. This may be true of some poorly-managed compost bins, so you can change people’s experiences by having well-managed compost.
What if some people at my unit block aren’t interested?
The compost collective only requires two units per site to sign up to the compost collective to act as champions and show other units how they can get involved. Just a few units can make a real difference.
It’s fine if some people aren't interested—not everyone needs to participate for the project to be a success in your unit block.
This project is a NSW EPA Waste Less, Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.