LOCAL councils are working on a project testing for the viability of composting organic waste at transfer stations.
The District Councils of Clare and Gilbert Valleys, Mallala and Peterborough are endorsing the joint initiative in the Central Local Government Region of SA (CLGR).
Funding from the Local Government Association and Zero Waste SA, along with project management support from the CLGR, has enabled trials to investigate new feasible ways of composting organic waste.
Due to the high costs of machinery and intensive management required for composting techniques, councils are normally deterred from adopting such an approach.
But the innovative method was developed by researchers has since been implemented successfully in a number of councils in rural NSW and Victoria.
The process requires minimal equipment or attention by staff, and an initial application of a biological additive and water, followed by a second treatment six weeks later.
The additive stimulates populations of microbes, which decompose the vegetation and other organic material into humus soil.
At the end of the trials, the material will be screened and then laboratory tested to ensure the process has succeeded in eliminating any plant or human pathogens and weed seeds.
Providing the end product passes these tests, it will then be used in council parks and gardens.
A cost-benefit analysis will then be conducted to determine whether it is viable to continue composting at transfer stations.
Plastic bags and pots, plant-care instructions and plastic-coated wire are the biggest contaminants in garden waste; however, items such as toothbrushes, razors and even a sink have been uncovered!
Although we refer to it as garden ‘waste’, it doesn’t need to be wasted.
When recycled into compost it becomes a valuable resource that can be used to boost nutrients and improve water retention in gardens.
So next time you are putting garden waste out for collection or taking it to the dump, take the time to remove any items that aren’t organic waste, and remember: if it doesn’t grow, it doesn’t go.
Planet Ark has developed a slogan for National Recycling Week, titled the Seven Secrets of Successful Recyclers so everyone can recycle.