Newcastle residents are being offered a big discount on home composting products, with a view to reducing the amount of food waste that enters landfill.  

Newcastle Libraries Manager, Community Programs & Partnerships Alexander Mills, Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, City of Newcastle Waste Education & Program Coordinator Therese Davis and workshop presenter Dave Sivyer from Feedback Organic.

Newcastle residents can get 75 per cent off selected composting, worm farming and Bokashi fermenting products along with free home delivery, thanks to a collaboration with Compost Revolution and the City of Newcastle.

The incentive was launched in time for World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, tying in with this year’s theme of ecosystem restoration.

To help the community understand how to compost at home successfully, the City of Newcastle has organised a series of face-to-face workshops hosted by Feedback Organic Recovery founder Dave Sivyer.

Feedback Organic Recovery is a local organisation that promotes food cycling, converting urban food waste into compost, helping produce healthy, sustainable and community-grown food.

Sivyer said the organisation wanted to drive behaviour change and make composting a societal norm for the whole community.

Feedback Organic Farm in Cardiff Heights

“Composting is incredibly important to all of us; on a national level, it costs the government about $20 billion a year just to manage food waste,” he said.

“Food waste contributes largely to landfill and greenhouse gas emissions, so if we can upskill our community and learn how to compost at home, the future benefits will be huge.

“The workshops will run through the variety of different composting options, so for people with backyards, they can use a worm farm or composting unit, and people in apartment blocks can use the smaller Bokashi system.”

Sivyer said Feedback Organic Recovery was also working on an innovation partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a program around food waste avoidance and preventative food waste solutions.

“So, our program will be all around targeting large service organisations in Newcastle, which will filter down to the entities that operate within them, like small cafes and early childhood centres,” he said.

“We really want to encourage people to start reducing their food waste and get into good composting habits in preparation for the new organics system being developed at Summer Hill.”

The composting initiative is part of a larger recycling plan organised by the City of Newcastle, including a new commercial-grade organics recycling facility at Summer Hill Waste Management Centre.

Once completed, this facility will allow food waste  to be collected with vegetation in the organics bins and help produce a quality compost product from kerbside organics, replacing inorganic fertiliser.  

Newcastle Libraries will also host a four-part podcast and short video series to help harness residents’ skills and knowledge of successful composting.   

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said around 30 per cent of waste in red-lid bins was food waste. Around 135 kilograms of food waste per household is thrown away each year.

“Composting and worm farming are both fantastic ways to recycle scraps from the kitchen while providing a rich fertiliser for the garden,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Households with no garden,  or limited space, can still get involved by choosing the compact Bokashi bin, which ferments a large range of food scraps including meat, citrus and dairy, so there’s a way for everyone in the community to get involved. 

“An important  impact of this program will be less food waste to landfill.”

For more information on the face-to-face workshops or about purchasing an at-home composting system, visit the City of Newcastle’s website.

Hayley McMahon

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