Worms reducing waste sent to landfill

Worm farms could be an unusual but effective answer to reducing waste sent to landfill in the Alpine Shire.

After the State Government significantly increased landfill levies, Council has identified recycling food waste as a way to reduce material sent to landfill. Around 40% of household garbage weight comes from food waste and garden organics.

Waste Management Officer Sandra Light said the worm farms had enormous benefits.

“When food waste goes to landfill, it releases damaging greenhouse gases,” she said.

“A worm farm not only keeps food waste out of landfill, it recycles it into a high quality fertilizer. After the worms eat the food waste the worm castings and liquid waste are harvested and used on our gardens.

“Council’s worm farm services our Offices and Depot in Bright. From this we have diverted approximately 1.3 tonnes of food waste and organic matter from landfill since 2007. We showed the Bright P-12 College and Alpine Children’s Centres our worm farm and they followed our lead and built their own. Both produce large quantities of food waste which will now be diverted from landfill.”

With a new cell required at the Myrtleford Landfill and the State Government’s Landfill Levy increase, Council will have to raise waste charges in it’s 2010/2011 Draft Budget.

The standard kerbside waste collection cost will increase from $145 to $160 per year. The landfill rehabilitation & development charge will increase from $25 to $40 a year, and waste disposal charges will rise from $24 to $30 per cubic metre.

Disposal charges for most recyclable materials have not been increased. This reinforces the importance and cost benefits of maximising recycling therefore minimising material sent to landfill.

Waste Management Coordinator Lyn Blandford said Alpine Shire residents have a good record of minimising waste sent to landfill over the last ten years.

“We need to introduce more initiatives and investigate alternative technologies rather than simply passing increasing costs on to ratepayers,” she said.

“Council will be developing a new waste strategy over the next year. This will assess the cost and feasibility of providing a collection service for green and food waste, as well as looking at composting and worm farms.”

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