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Roll up your sleeves for Compost Week!

Here at Jordan Springs, we want to encourage and celebrate local compost initiatives. In honour of Compost Week 2023 (Sunday, 7 May – Saturday, 13 May 2023), we've broken down what you need to know about composting, tips to get started at home and information about Penrith’s local compost programs.

Why is composting so important?

Huge amounts of organically active material and food waste that is buried without air in our landfills produces harmful greenhouse gases like methane. According to Penrith City Council, causes over 3% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Instead of contributing to the production of greenhouse gas emissions, by turning your food scraps and organic garden waste into compost, you will:

  • improve soil quality and garden viability by releasing rich nutrients into the soil;
  • suppress plant diseases and pests, which reduces or eliminates the need for chemical fertilisers and manures helping you save money;
  • reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill – therefore preventing greenhouse gas, emissions and leachate which can pollute land, groundwater and waterways;
  • help your soil retain moisture, saving you time and money on watering; and
  • help absorb and filter runoff, which protects streams from erosion and pollution.

How can you help?

International Compost Awareness Week says approximately 50% of the rubbish Australians put in the everyday mixed waste ‘garbage bin’ could be put to better use as compost and mulch or could be returned to agricultural land to improve soil quality.

Maybe you’ve thought about composting before but never actually had the chance to try it. Whether it seems too difficult, too much effort or you simply just don’t know how to start, we’ve got you covered with five easy tips to kickstart your composting journey. The best part is once you’re all set up, you’ll be good to compost all year round and the backyard compost system will mostly take care of itself!

1. Choose a bin – compost bins come in many different colours, styles and sizes depending on your space at home, but they all work to achieve the same end result! Local hardware stores usually have a great selection of bins, so pop into your nearest one to grab yours.

2. Find a location – scope out your yard for the best spot to put your compost bin. Remember to choose an area with some shade so the material doesn’t dry out too much.

3. Know what to compost – once you’re all set up, it’s important to know what scraps and waste you can actually compost. Feel free to add vegetable and fruit scraps, vegetable oil, pruning and lawn clippings, tea bags and coffee, grounds, vacuum dust, shredded paper and cardboard, used potting mix, eggshells and flowers. Be sure to leave out meat and bones, dairy products, diseased plants, metals, plastic and glass, animal manures, fat, magazines, large branches, weeds that have seeds or underground stems, sawdust from treated timber, pet droppings and synthetic chemicals.

4. Layer up – start by placing a good layer of brown matter (potting mix, twigs or mulch) on the bottom, followed by layers of green and brown matter.

5. Sit back and let the compost system work its magic – it will take a few months (approximately six) for your compost to mature depending on the size of the bin. The good news is after layering, the microbes and bacteria will immediately start working to produce compost material.

What else can you do?

Even if you’re unable to start up a home composting system, you can still get involved! Have you heard about Penrith City Council’s Food Organic Garden Organics (FOGO) bin? If you have a FOGO bin, all you need to do is put your organic waste into this green bin (which gets collected weekly) and all the material will be processed into nutrient-rich compost that gets used locally for food production, parks and sports fields. Maximum impact with minimal effort – it’s a win-win situation!

Penrith’s passionate commitment towards FOGO has reduced a huge amount of reusable material from being buried in landfill, and instead being turned into a nutrient-rich compost product. Already, Penrith has seen a total of 4,251,000kg of FOGO material being collected.

Wondering how you can get your hands on one of these green bins? The Penrith City Council are working hard to roll out this service to all residential households. If you have questions, you can find out more about the FOGO bins by visiting their website here.