Residents of the Wollongong LGA are generating around 38,000 tonnes of general waste which goes into landfill each year. This means that the average household is still sending about 740kg of waste to landfill each year. Composting the food and garden waste alone could reduce the amount sent to landfill by 370kg per household per year.
The benefits of composting include
- recycling valuable nutrients and reducing the use of artificial fertilisers
- preventing greenhouse gas emissions
- saving landfill space
- improving water holding ability of soils
- saving you money.
The break down of organic waste (plants, food and animals) buried in landfill with limited supplies of oxygen produces a gas called methane. This can create odour problems, kill surface vegetation, and is a type greenhouse gas. Such a large amount of organics in landfill is responsible for 2.5 per cent (Department of Climate Change, National greenhouse gas inventory, 2010, p. 27) of Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions annually, producing methane, a gas with over 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
By using any of the techniques below, you'll be receiving the benefits of increased soil fertility, and if you like can even complete the cycle by being able to produce your own food in the form of fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs!
If you would like to see some of these great methods in action, visit the Discovery Centre at Wollongong Botanic Garden, or sign up to our Sustainable Wollongong newsletter by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Composting converts kitchen and garden waste into dark coloured soil that is high in nutrients. Composting is the name given to a method of breaking down organic waste, usually in a container or heap. Decomposition occurs due to the action of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi. Small creatures, such as earthworms, slaters and millipedes help to complete the process.
Compost adds vitality to the soil and can be used anywhere in your garden. Your energy-rich compost will help retain water in sandy soil, improve drainage in clay soil and can help to prevent disease in your garden by keeping your plants healthy.
Download our Composting Factsheet
Compost bins are available to purchase from Wollongong City Council as part of our Greenplan program.
Worms are wonderful garbage disposers. In ideal situations they can eat equivalent to their body weight of food scraps a day. Worm castings are a rich soil conditioner or plant food.
Uses for worm produce:
- plant food — add a 3-6cm layer of castings around plants and the drip line of trees. Cover with mulch.
- use diluted worm juice as a fertilizer. Dilute the worm juice so that it is the colour of weak tea, and pour around the drip line.
- potting mix — add 10-20% castings to a poor potting mix.
Download our Worm Farming Factsheet
Worm farms are available for purchase by residents through Wollongong City Council's Greenplan program
The Bokashi Bucket is a practical and convenient way to prevent food waste from ending up in landfill, while providing your garden with a nourishing food source and enriching microbes.
You can compost almost every kitchen food waste including fresh fruit and vegetables, prepared foods, cooked and uncooked meats and fish, dairy, eggs, bread, coffee grinds, tea bags, wilted flowers and tissues. Do not include liquids.
It uses fermentation – by adding Bokashi powder to your waste, you are introducing millions of beneficial microbes which ferment or “pickle” the waste, inside an airtight bucket. This results in sweet smelling waste which is partially broken down. After a few weeks (when the bucket is full) this material can be buried in the garden soil or added to your compost heap, where it will break down within a few weeks. The waste never heats up, it retains all the nutrients, releases hardly any greenhouse gases, and results in a totally organic fertiliser that’s full of nutrients, organic matter, microbes and enzymes. It costs very little to produce, and can all been done at home with very little effort.
Not only are chickens great pets but there are plenty of great things about keeping chooks in your backyard. To find out about the benefits of keeping chickens, and regulations that apply in the Wollongong area, visit our Chickens in Your Backyard page.