Studies show that, on average, almost 70% of the home waste bin is organic material (food, paper and garden scraps) that could be composted. 20% of the total volume of waste deposited at the Ralston Road Refuse and Recycling Centre is green waste - 6300 cubic metres were deposited in 2014-015. Home composting or worm farming has the potential to save our community large amounts of money used in the transport, disposal and processing of rubbish.
Compost bins and worm farms are an excellent way of reducing waste to landfill and turning green waste and food scraps into excellent cheap plant fertiliser.
Compost and worm casting not only feeds plants, but conditions the soil by nurturing microbe presence and health, increasing the soil's water and nutrient holding capacity and reducing the levels of soil borne plant pathogens and pests. A balanced natural soil produces healthy plants that have a natural resistance to disease and insect pests - this can drastically reduce costly insecticide and fungicide spraying costs and spray exposure to plants and people. Healthy plants produce more nutritious healthy produce. Real benefits accrue if compost amounts to more than 25% of the topsoil volume. Compost breaks down in the soil and needs to be replenished regularly - there can never be too much compost.
Worm farms are an ideal way to reduce food waste being disposed of and allows people to become actively involved in recycling. They can provide an enjoyable hobby for both adults and children. The main material produced by earthworms as they eat their way thorough kitchen scraps is called castings. It is highly nutritious and cheap fertiliser for plants. The added bonus is the production of a worm liquid sometimes referred to as Worm Wee. This liquid diluted with water, applied to plants can achieve some remarkable healthy plant growth.
Worm farming can be carried out in any container that is free draining and suitably meshed to contain the worms. Old baths, drums or polystyrene boxes are ideal. Commercial purchased worm farms are reasonably priced, easier to maintain and are more visually appealing for places like balconies or patios. Drain any liquid into a container to use as a diluted liquid fertiliser.
Worm farms require compost worms, they are different from normal garden worms; they are smaller surface feeders that require high levels of organic materials. Under ideal moist conditions they consume their own body weight per day. They need to be kept in moist conditions that avoid extremes of heat and cold.
Compost bins and worm farms are available to purchase from the Shire or your local hardware store.
For more information, please do not hesitate to contact the Waste Management Officer 9771 7777.
Don't discard your food and garden waste, treat them as a valuable resource and convert them into cheap fertiliser and help our ailing planet.