Winning the war on waste
tter Soil, Better Life, Better Future – that’s the message behind International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW), which ends on Saturday.
Closing the loop on organic waste
Do you know that our waste stream consists of 50 per cent in vegetation and food scraps? Australian households currently generate around 13 million tonnes of organic waste per year but only around six million tonnes get recycled per year, leaving seven million tonnes of waste to be recovered, processed, and manufactured into beneficial products.
“Councils do a great job of collecting and arranging recycling but are not completely up to speed when it comes to using the products that contain the recyclable material they collect” says Eric Love Chairman of ICAW and the Centre for Organic Research and Education (CORE). “Lack of adoption of these products could be costing the Australian community up to $60 million per year in extra recycling processing costs. Greater use of higher value recycled organic products can result in lower waste management costs paid by the community.”
According to ICAW, recycling is a “circular economy process and we need to close the loop on organic waste and encourage more repurposing of waste through recycling.” For example:
- Organic waste (vegetation and food scraps) is collected by councils from consumers and sent to processing facilities for manufacturing into products
- These products are then added to the soil by consumers throughout the supply chain cycle (e.g. growers, retailers and consumers) where the carbon and nutrient cycle supports the growth of plants and/or crops
- At each stage of the cycle organic waste from trimmings, food scraps or crop residues is generated
- Discarded organic materials are then recycled through collection systems
Use your food scraps to scrap carbon pollution
Check out the growing list of events and promotions happening around Australia this week, which range from free workshops and composting demonstrations to worm farm working bees. You can also register your own event and network with local community groups and activities.
Earthworms saving the planet
Dolphins, pandas, orangutans, koalas and earthworms – while the first four are likely to front a conservation campaign due to their cute and cuddly persona, the latter is the only one considered critical to human survival thanks to its “ecosystem services”.
In this article published on The Conversation, you’ll not only learn why earthworms are known as “keystone species” but also what you can do to ensure they continue to play their part in the food chain.