By Gabriella Payne
In Victoria, around half of our household waste is made up of food and garden scraps which end up in landfill each year, breaking down to create harmful greenhouse gases that affect the air quality and contribute to climate change.
But a new initiative from the Cardinia Shire Council is inspiring locals to put their food scraps to good use and encouraging everyone to get on board the composting train – with their new and improved compost corner at Deep Creek Reserve, Pakenham.
The newly invigorated space hopes to teach residents about the benefits of composting and show everyone just how easy it is to start your own system at home.
A trail has been set up in the reserve, inviting visitors to go on a journey and learn about food wastage and worm farms through a range of new displays and signs.
The nearby Deep Creek Reserve Cafe is also making use of these new facilities, by depositing their food scraps in the composting system and utilising the newly built worm farms and herb gardens.
Cardinia Shire Council Mayor, Brett Owen, said that it was fantastic to raise awareness about the importance of composting and hoped that this initiative would inspire many locals to get started on their own sustainable projects at home.
“This space is not only practical for the onsite cafe to compost their food scraps and grow food, but is also an engaging area that will be used for school and community education,” Mayor Owen said.
“And best of all, the composting systems on display are available at your local hardware store or online, so you can easily create your own compost corner at home.”
But if you don’t have room at home for your own compost bin, never fear, there are other ways you can help the environment – such as through the compost hub at the community garden on Henry Street in Pakenham, which is run by Living & Learning Inc.
After signing up as members, local residents are able to drop off their unwanted organic waste and food scraps which are collected by volunteers and transformed into “a drak, fertile and nutrient-rich soil” through their established composting system.
According to the organisation, in the Cardinia Shire, “34 percent of what the population throws in the bin is food scraps” – something they are hoping to see change over the coming years.
As a way of thanking residents for their composting efforts, members of the Living & Learning scheme are rewarded with a free bag of ready-to-go garden compost each year – a win-win for everyone.
As part of the council’s newest composting initiative, Cardinia residents who keep their purchase receipts for compost bins, worm farms, bokashi bins or in-ground food waste digesters may be eligible for a rebate of up to $50 – so why not give it a go?
To apply for this scheme or find out more information, visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/wasterebates