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Publications archive - Waste and recycling

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Key departmental publications, e.g. annual reports, budget papers and program guidelines are available in our online archive.

Much of the material listed on these archived web pages has been superseded, or served a particular purpose at a particular time. It may contain references to activities or policies that have no current application. Many archived documents may link to web pages that have moved or no longer exist, or may refer to other documents that are no longer available.

On-farm Composting of Municipal and Commercial Organics as an Environmentally and Socially SustainableResource Recovery Scheme for Rural Communities

June 2003,
Environment Australia


16 Conclusions

Organic materials (garden and kitchen organics) comprise by far the largest component of waste being landfilled in Crows Nest Shire. Between 45% and over 60% of kerbside collected waste is organic, as are about two-thirds (v/v) of waste taken to landfill by residents and businesses (self-haul). More than 85% of self-hauled waste is delivered by shire residents, the remainder is commercial waste.

Consequently, the diversion and recycling of organic materials provides the best opportunity of

It was shown that kerbside collection of garden and kitchen organics can achieve equal, or most likely better, collection yields than the existing collection scheme for paper, glass, metal and plastics.

Collection and processing costs for the organics recycling and on-farm composting scheme are estimated to be between $8 and $13 per household per year lower than for the existing recycling scheme (dry recyclables).

On-farm composting is likely to incur processing costs that range between $10 and $25 per tonne, depending on the size of the operation. These costs include investment costs for a hardstand area that covers the entire composting and storage area. There may be opportunities for savings by reducing the hardstand area or by reducing the thickness of the hardstand.

Processing costs do not include shredding and screening. The trial has shown that shredding is not required if the feedstock is limited in size (Ø < 2.5 cm) and screening is also not required if there are few impurities (which can be segregated manually) and if the material is used for agricultural application. However, screening may be necessary in larger operations and if feedstock contains more impurities.

The intense and on-going public education campaign resulted in kerbside collected organic materials that contained very little impurities and no oversize material. This ensured that processing costs could be kept at a minimum.

Overall, participants in the organics collection trial were happy with the scheme and more than 90% would be willing to participate in a regular service in the future.

Based on the outcomes of this project it is recommended that local authorities in rural and regional areas focus their recycling activities on organic materials and consider advancing and implementing an integrated recycling strategy with the following components:

  1. Segregation of coarse garden organics at dedicated, supervised drop-off sites; material is shredded, possibly pasteurised and used predominantly as mulch.
  2. Kerbside collection of fine garden organics and selected kitchen organics (optional), material is processed though on-farm composting and utilised in agricultural applications.
  3. Collection of dry recyclables (paper, glass, metal, plastics) through high-yielding drop-off scheme.
  4. Collection of waste in smaller than 240L bins or at extended collection intervals, e.g. fortnightly, alternating with the organics collection.