Food and organic waste can make up a big portion of what’s in your red bin.
When food and other organic waste goes to landfill it gets compacted and creates methane gas – that’s bad news. There’s also a big cost for sending things to landfill.
By composting or worm farming, the same waste can be turned into natural fertiliser to improve your garden without making harmful greenhouse gases.
How to compost
- Food and veggie scraps
- Coffee grounds and tea leaves
- Grass clippings, leaves and twigs from your yard
- Newspaper or shredded paper.
- Meat, fish and dairy
- Oil, fat or grease
- Onion and garlic
- Dog or cat poo.
Using your compost
How to bokashi
Worms can munch through your food waste, and turn it into castings and liquid fertiliser for your garden. Here's a quick video to show you how to make a worm farm, or read below for more details
To get started, you’ll need:
- A cool, sheltered spot to set up your worm farm
- A worm farm container, which you can buy through Wollongong Botanic Garden, or at hardware stores or nurseries.
- Bedding – this should be 10-15cm deep and can be a mix of shredded newspaper, and horse or cow manure, worm castings, coco peat or coir peat. Mix and wet the bedding so it’s as moist as a damp sponge.
- 1000 – 2000 worms from a hardware store or nursery. Add the worms to the surface of the bedding, and give them a few days to get used to their new home.
- Fruit and vegetable scraps. Add these a few days after you set up your worm farm. Just add a thin layer, and don’t totally cover the bedding.
- A damp hessian sack or old t-shirt to cover the scraps and worms.
Add more fruit and veggie scraps only when the worms have worked through the previous scraps. You can also include small amounts of paper, cardboard, and egg shells.
Do not add these things to your worm farm:
- Meat, fish or dairy products
- Onion, garlic or chilli
- Citrus fruits
- Oil and fats
- Garden clippings
- Animal droppings.
Keep the worm farm slightly damp by watering it lightly if it starts to dry out.
Most worm farms have a tap or tray at the bottom to collect worm ‘juice’. This can be diluted with water as a fertiliser for your garden.
Once a worm farm tray is full, tip it out on a flat surface and gradually scrape away the material until you’re left with mostly just worms, then start again with a new tray.
The scrapings – or castings – from the full tray can be used on your garden, or mixed with regular soil as potting mix.
There are a variety of compost systems and worm farms available that you can use if you live in a unit, including models perfect for balconies, patios and other small spaces.
Our free home composting program helps people who live in a block of 12 or more units set up a compost or worm farm.
Here's how you can take part:
- Talk to the other people in your block and your body corporate. You'll need about a third of the people in your unit block keen to take part (eg 4 units in a block of 12, or 8 for a block of 20 or more units).
- Call our Green Team on (02) 4227 7111 or email us. We'll visit you and chat about what will work for your block. This could be a number of individual systems, or one that everybody shares.
- Once a plan is worked out, we'll provide you and your neighbours with free compost bins, worm farms or other tools to suit your needs. We'll also arrange a workshop to show you how to set up and maintain your system.
- Get composting or worm farming, and turn your food waste into rich soil for your balcony garden, pots, or shared gardens and lawns!
Limited spaces are available in this program, and conditions apply.
If you live in a block with less than 12 units, keep an eye out for one of our regular compost or worm farm workshops, or give us a call if you'd like advice about how to recycle your food scraps in a small space.
If you have any questions, please email us or call (02) 4227 7111.
Keeping chickens is a great way to recycle your food scraps, reduce grubs and get your own supply of fresh eggs.
The number of chickens you can have, and how you need to house them, is explained in state law. Use the links below to read more:
- How chickens need to be kept (scroll to Part 5, Division 2: Keeping of Poultry)
- Rules for chicken enclosures
You cannot keep roosters in residential areas.
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