Home Composting Not Going to Happen?: Where To Compost Your Food Scraps in Melbourne
You might not want to or might not be able to compost your food scraps at home. We share three others ways to keep your organic waste out of landfill and who will happily compost it for you in Melbourne, as well as where you can drop it off.
Not everyone can or wants to compost in their own home. You may not have a need for the rich soil it creates, it may just be an extra chore or project you simply can’t complete or maintain, or you may have a disability that makes it hard to do.
There are other options though were someone else does the composting for you! Sound good? We’ve scoured Melbourne for everywhere where you can drop off your biodegradable waste for composting. You just have to start collecting it!
If you’re not in Melbourne, firstly check whether your local council accepts food waste via any of its waste management programs. If not, look for a community centre or community garden near you that does it or look for someone near you who has a composter going on the ShareWaste app, which is worldwide.
1. Your green bin via council if you’re one of the lucky ones
If it’s available to you, the easiest way to get your food scraps to the right destination - i.e. back into the earth - is through council collection. Some councils are stepping up and taking household food scraps and dealing with them correctly. Legends!
So, check if your council allows food scraps to be placed in your green bin with your green waste or if it has a separate bin you can get for food waste. Also check what you can and can’t put in it - usually not all food waste is accepted.
The councils that are doing this at the moment are:
Bass Coast Shire Council
Benalla Rural City Council
Central Goldfields Shire Council
Colac-Otway Shire Council
Corangamite Shire Council
Glen Eira Council
Greater Bendigo City Council
Greater Shepparton City Council
Hume City Council
Macedon Ranges Shire Council
Moira Shire Council
Moonee Valley Council
Moyne Shire Council
Nillumbik Shire Council
Southern Grampians Shire Council
Strathbogie Shire Council
Wangaratta Rural City Council
Wodonga City Council
Wyndham City Council
Councils that are introducing it soon are: Bayside, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston, Greater Dandenong, Kingston, and Monash. Warrnambool City Council has also committed to introducing a food organics garden organics (FOGO) collection service and Mildura Rural City Council will be providing a green lidded bin for food and garden organic matter in the next few years.
The City of Yarra is currently trialling a new food and green waste collection service in selected areas of Abbotsford. Moreland City Council and Anglesea are also busy conducting food organic waste collection trials. A trial has been conducted in Darebin Council and it is busy looking at the results and determining the future roll-out of the service across the municipality. Fingers crossed!
2. Your neighbours via ShareWaste
I talk about ShareWaste as often as possible because it makes composting accessible to anyone - no matter their housing situation or how time poor they are. Just open the app and see who is composting and accepting donations in your neighbourhood. Start a conversation with them, start collecting your food scraps and take them over to be composted when you need to.
It’s also a good way to meet the neighbours and foster a sense of community! We’ve been using the app to compost our food waste for ages and our lovely host always offers us herbs from their garden and fertiliser to take home.
As it is available in all countries, we’ve even used the app while traveling to find somewhere in the city we were in to dispose of the uneaten bits of food we were carrying around with us.
3. Your local community garden or nursery
Community gardens and nurseries can never have too much fertiliser, so many of them have compost systems going and invite others to come use them.
One’s I’ve found that accept organic waste from people in the community are:
Pentridge Community Garden Composting Hub, Coburg
PepperTree Place, Coburg
Yarraville Community Garden, Yarraville
Clifton Hill Laneway Community Garden, Clifton Hill
Brunswick Neighbourhood House Community Garden, Brunswick
West Brunswick Community Garden, West Brunswick
The Port Phillip EcoCentre, St Kilda
Veg Out, St Kilda
Te-Arai Community Garden, St Kilda East
Simply Living Garden, Port Melbourne Uniting Church, Port Melbourne
The Mary & Basil Community Garden, South Melbourne
The Port Phillip Men’s Shed, South Melbourne
Richmond Community Learning Centre Burnley Backyard, Richmond
Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre Compost Hub, Carlton North
Condell Growers and Sharers, Fitzroy
Rushall Community Garden, North Fitzroy
Kensington Compost Hub, Kensington
Finbar Neighbourhood House, Richmond
Fairfield Community Garden, Fairfield
Span Community House Community Garden, Thornbury
This isn’t an extensive list, so if there isn’t one in your area listed, investigate further and let us know if you know of any we can add to this list.
WHAT IF I’M A BUSINESS?
There are also commercial composting options for restaurants and cafes and any businesses working with food.
Reground collects cafe’s coffee grounds and takes this waste resource to community gardens and home gardeners. All the cafe needs to do is empty its knockbox or store its chaff in the Reground bin or bags it is provided with and they come pick it up when it’s full. In September 2018, it had saved 208 tonnes of ground coffee from landfill.
While, Compost Collectors collects organic waste from any business that will let it - florists, restaurants, cafes, food processing plants, aged care facilities, schools and green grocers - and processes it at a processing station around 25 km from Melbourne’s CBD, turning it into “beautiful, rich, organic gold for the garden”. This fertiliser usually ends up in urban gardener’s gardens, closing the loop.
Search for a solution in your area - I’m sure you’ll find one. Let’s keep food waste out of the bin!