Organic Waste and the Waste Minimisation Plan

Thursday 13 October 2011, 1:41PM
By Central Otago District Council

The proposed Central Otago Waste Minimisation and Management Plan describes how each household in the District could easily eliminate from landfill up to 220 kg per year by actively mulching and composting. Almost 40% of the material thrown out in wheelie bins each week is either food waste from the kitchen or green waste from the garden.

Council Waste Minimisation Officer Sophie Mander said, “If we move to a fortnightly collection, we will need to think about the space we have in our bins more carefully. It is important that everyone understands we can’t just keep throwing everything away, there is no away. Composting organic material is an easy way that households can reduce their waste streams and really do something positive for their garden”.

Central Otago WasteBusters Organic Waste Educator Fred Peyton said, “People have the idea that composting is a messy, smelly business that takes too much time and effort. Many people are surprised at how easy using the Bokashi composting unit for kitchen scraps is”.

The Council offers a variety of subsidised composting options. A $20 Council subsidy on the Bokashi system or a recycled tyre worm farm is available from Central Otago WasteBusters. “To be eligible, you must attend a short 30 minute composting session. This irons out any of the stumbling blocks for newcomers to composting”, says Fred Peyton.

Interested people should contact Central Otago WasteBusters for more information (03) 448 9948. Alternatively a $30 Council subsidy is available on a wooden worm bin available from Central Wormworx.

Many participants of Fred Peyton’s workshops have commented on how they have changed their habits since learning to compost and how they have become more aware of the amount of food waste they throw away. “They realise how much food they actually throw out in the rubbish so end up only buying what they need and consequently saving more money,” said Sophie Mander. “Too many of us are throwing away hundreds of dollars-worth of food a year, it’s such a waste”, she said.

In addition to the household composting options, Council is continuing its operation of the five greenwaste drop off sites across the district. This includes a new trial to mulch greenwaste at Cromwell and Alexandra transfer stations. Long term the material would be made available for use in people’s gardens as a weed suppressant or general garden mulch. “To be successful, the service will require people to be more careful with what they take to the greenwaste sites, contaminated lawn clippings, flax and cabbage trees are not suitable for mulching, we want to be able to make a safe and useful product”, said Sophie Mander. The trial will initially see the material being used onsite and options to use on Council’s park and reserves in the future are being considered.

The proposed Waste Minimisation and Management Plan, Summary of Information and Statement of Proposal is available online www.codc.govt.nz or at Council offices and service centres.

Submissions on the Plan can be made by post or email. Submissions close 18 November 2011 and submissions will be heard on 14 December 2011. Public meetings are being held in October.