Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Posts tagged ‘Earth Day’

The Compost Challenge – Can You Help Reduce Greenhouse Gases?

Today I’m going to join Jan at Thanks For Today who has invited us all to join her in promoting Earth Day and sustainable gardening practice.

Jan has asked anyone who would like to join to promote Earth Day on the 22nd of April 2010 by coming up with an appropriate post based, of course, on what we can do as gardeners to help the environment and live sustainably. She is even giving away some very lovely prizes, but I’m joining in just for the fun of it! You can read more about Earth Day on Jan’s wonderful blog.

My compost bin which I ovehauled yesterday...but that's another story!

My aim for Earth Day is to prevent anything from my home or garden that is compostable from entering the waste stream. Of course not just on Earth Day, but every day!

I also want to share what I’ve found out about compost and why it is good for much more than your garden.

If you’ve got composting right, you are actually helping to reduce greenhouse gases.

If you are putting compostable material in the rubbish bin, you are probably helping to create methane gas at the local tip, which is not great news…

Approximately 60% of the rubbish Australians put in the everyday mixed-waste ‘garbage bin’ could be put to better use in the garden as compost and mulch or could be returned to agricultural land to improve soil quality.

Alarmingly, such a huge amount of organically-active material buried ‘anaerobically’ (without air) in landfill causes over 3% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions annually by producing methane: a gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide! If properly composted instead, this same organic waste could help to abate climate change in yet another way: by sinking or ‘sequestering’ carbon back into the soil.

The above information is from Waste Management Association of Australia’s Compost Week promotion in 2009.

My ducks about to clean up some slugs and convert them to garden food!

Gardening Australia also has some very easy to digest information about composting. The article notes that in 2008 less Australian were composting than 10 years earlier, which I think is probably a trend that is sadly continuing.

Just imagine, in Australia alone 3% of greenhouse gases could be reduced just by composting your garden and vege scraps! We could be putting up to 60 % less waste in the bin. I think those numbers are probably repeated give or take around the world and set us an achievable challenge for Earth Day and every day!

Any little bit of composting helps, but I’ve set myself the challenge of making sure it all goes to compost and beneficial re-use. I’m going to be using three things to help achieve that aim:

  1. The worm farm. The worms will get the pick of the compost crop as they put it to good use producing vermacasts and worm wee for the garden.
  2. The compost bin. Pretty much all the rest of the kitchen scraps and a lot of the garden waste. Coffee grounds, vacuum cleaner dust, anything made of natural fabric too far gone for the op shop, leaves, small prunings, shredded newspaper etc.
  3. The council ‘green bin’. The garden waste that I don’t want to risk surviving the compost bin and re-introducing to the garden goes in here. Blackberries, couch grass that’s gone to seed and ivy will go in along with some small branches too big for the compost. The council has a process for completely ‘cooking’ compost so even the nastiest weeds can’t re-produce, so I’ll leave the real pains to them.

Sounds good doesn’t it?

Well, the worm farm is under way and the green bin is a wonderful service that eventually ends up as commercial mulch, but the compost bin…that needed a bit of ‘tweaking’ and I’ll tell you more about it in the next day or two!