Cooma-Monaro Shire Council – Composting Food and Garden Organics

[Music plays] (Narrator) Cooma-Monaro Shire Council is set amongst the rolling Monaro Plains and snowy region peaks, about 100 kilometres south of Canberra. The Council makes nutrient rich compost from food and garden organics collected from households. Processed locally the finished product is sold under the name of Coompost. (Dean Lynch) Very exciting in the Cooma-Monaro Shire. Our waste services are probably second to none. So once we all saw a bit of a vision we were able to work out where we’re going to be in the future, so once we did that and we invested some money into that, with some help of the EPA, how we’re going to extend the life of our landfill, how we’re going to make compost where the community can benefit out of what would have been a waste product. (Jeff Tate) Essentially it is the biggest part of what is in the waste bin, we know that from the bin audit we did. We saw that there was 70% of material in our waste bins that didn’t need to be there, that have been landfilled unnecessarily. It’s been outstanding. In the first two months of the collection service we’ve collected 114 tonnes of material that’s been diverted from the landfill to the composting facility. Once we put it through the process, now obviously we pasteurise the product and it gets it up to temperature so there’s no… that destroys all of the pathogens in the product. We send it away for testing, and we can guarantee when it goes out the gate that it’s an Australian standard A1 compost. Now that application can be used by residents to grow food in their gardens. Cooma-Monaro Shire Council can use it on their sporting ovals, in their parks, and of course in the agricultural sector. (Trevor Nicholas) The Cooma-Monaro Shire Council has done a great job in putting forward this green waste and food collection service, because I know through personal experience of doing this job for 28 years the amount of waste that’s dropped just in the short time that this has been going is phenomenal. Well initially we had the 240 litre garbage bin. Then since then Council have introduced 120 litre bins for rubbish. It’s going fantastically well. (Jeff Tate) When we first did the composting trials we made a batch of it and we were very happy with it. We took it to the Cooma Show with us, and we ran a competition and we asked residents to give it a name, and a resident came up with the very clever name of Coompost, which relates… makes it very Cooma centric. (Graham McCarthy) I think when I first used the service, a few very small challenges, easily overcome. But the most important one is the sorting of that waste, making sure you don’t get contamination, and making sure you put all your organic waste in the correct bin. It makes me feel really great that we’re able to recycle organic waste, that it doesn’t become landfill, that it doesn’t become a stress on our environment, and particularly as communities grow larger it’s more important that we manage organic waste in a much better way, and recycling is the way to do it. (Dean Lynch) What we’re providing here in the Cooma-Monaro Shire is an example that Council can show some leadership and some vision. So I’d actually throw the gauntlet down to all Councils to, look, step up to the plate, just don’t do something because you’ve been doing it for the last 50 years, and just look outside the box and probably find a good outcome, like we have. [Music plays]

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