You’re in luck! The Hackett Compost Collective has already expanded to nearby suburbs of Canberra.
If you’re in Watson or Downer then I can make pick-ups on Saturdays when I have to take the car out to pick up the kilos of fruit pulp that Julie’s juices kindly donates every week. I’m already collecting from a few contributors in Watson this way, and sometimes I’ll swing by Gang Gang cafe to pick up some coffee grounds also (although now I can get coffee ground’s from Wilburs too, hooray!). So it’s no trouble at all to carry out a few drive-by bucket swaps at the same time.
Most of the time I try to carry out bucket swaps on the bike. The blue line in the map above is my rough commute on weekdays, with a bit of variation. I’m lucky to have bike path most of the way! So if you live in Dickson, Turner or the lower lying areas in O’Connor then I can probably pick up a bucket from your household 🙂 There are even a few contributors in Ainslie and Lyneham who live close enough to the bike path for easy collection.
Jay, who lives in Lyneham has made a very kind offer to take collections so that others can contribute also. She has an easily accessible compost bin in Lyneham (approximately where the red star is on the map above), that people can drop their waste off at. Lauren in Belconnen is a contributor that has already taken up the offer. Periodically I will collect the partially composted materials from Jay’s bin to finish them off.
Jane in Campbell is another person helping to spread the compost collective idea throughout Canberra. Jane would like to set up a local compost collective focused on the suburb of Campbell, but running in a similar way to the HCC.
If you’re interested in any of these options to divert your kitchen waste from landfill then give me a bell at email@example.com and I’ll pass on details for Jay or Jane and/or supply you with a lidded bucket to get to started.
The HCC has lots of new contributors and buckets are filling fast. Right now I’m keeping up with washing out the buckets to get them back into circulation but we are looking to be a little short on buckets in the near future. I’m happy to purchase some new buckets and brand them with the HCC stencil (although I’ve learnt that this doesn’t really work on cold Canberra days when the spray paint drips before drying!). But in the spirit of waste reduction, it’d be great to get my hands on some more post-consumer buckets. I worked in Woolies deli’s for years and I know that they throw out stacks of buckets. Most of these are not quite the right size though, being a little too big for counter top kitchen waste collection. But if anyone works in hospitality and sees smallish buckets, about 2-4L in size being thrown out then I’d be super grateful if you could put some aside for the HCC 🙂
Yesterday I got a little excited and turned over two bays of the compost heap in one morning. It was a good workout for a chilly morning. I think in the future I will avoid the temptation of putting so many twigs from the garden into the heap as these impart too much structural integrity! (and also take too long to break down) There was definitely a bit of heat from both piles, especially in the first bay where some fast decomposition was occurring. If you watch closely in the video below you can see the billowing steam as I turn the pile 🙂
Now the second and third bays are full of compost in different stages and the first bay is once again filling up thanks to all of the buckets collected yesterday. In short, good progress!
I used to tell people not to put avocado pits in the compost, as I’d find whole pits months later. These were not degrading even after quite a long time in the compost bin. However, we have to remember what wonderful little containers seeds are; protecting the plants genetic resources until conditions are right for germination. Seeds have tough outer layers but once these are disrupted then the goodies inside either perish (eg. after a predator bites a chunk out of the seed), or the seed quickly transforms this material into a growing plant.
What does this have to do with an avocado pit/seed??
Well, once we break open the seed it becomes vulnerable to degradation. Therefore, if you’re putting an avocado seed in the collection bucket it’s great if you can chop it in half first. This can be a bit tricky with a kitchen knife, so feel free to pop them in whole. I will spot these and easily crack them with the spade 🙂
Oh and the avocado skins may look tough, but they break down quite quickly, and are excellent compost feedstock.
Lots of things happening here at the HCC! So much that I haven’t had time to update the blog, but I’ll catch up on that soon 🙂 Meanwhile, there’s been plenty of buckets to empty into the growing heap. I also sieved the remaining portion in the third bay, so that third bay is now ready to receive a freshly turned heap next weekend.
With new contributors to the HCC things are running quite efficiently but soon we’ll need more buckets! I’m all for using post-consumer buckets so if anyone can recommend a steady source of these I’d be keen to hear about it.
After sieving some of the finished compost last weekend, and rotating some of the semi finished compost back into the first bay, it’ll soon be time to turn over a section of the compost bin again. And more turning = more finished compost, more quickly 🙂
A big thanks to Gang Gang cafe in Downer for a big bag of coffee grounds that is now keeping the first bay toasty and warm even on these frosty mornings.
I tend to be fairly ambitious with my composting, throwing in all sorts of stuff including items that I know will take a long time to break down.
The way I see it, these items (sticks, corn cobs, and other roughage) help the aeration of the pile as they stop it compacting into one homogenous mass. One downside though is that you end up with semi-finished compost, with lots of lumps and various sized elements. This is perfectly ok if you’re going to dig it into beds or nice deep, new holes for planting. It’s not so great if you want to use it in pots though, or to grow particular vegetables (eg. straight carrots). So we made a sieve!
With the help of a power saw or two this was very simple, being just a rough frame with wire mesh in between. Perhaps a better design would be easier to use and create less mess but it certainly worked! The resulting compost fines were indistinguishable with the potting mix that I added them to.
The larger portion of the compost, the semi-finished chunks etc. will go back into the first bay of the compost bin as layers of ‘browns’ so that they can continue to break down. I recognised some corn cobs, which didn’t fit through the sieve yet nonetheless were now easily broken apart by hand. They will get there in the end, especially as I keep adding lovely nutrient rich kitchen wastes from our community 🙂