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Nature’s Circular Economy

By Marilyn Campton

What helps the environment, saves you money and feeds the soil at the same time? With all the noise lately about recycling fails, irresponsible landfill waste and increasing levels of carbon emission, the need to facilitate organic recycling is becoming ever more crucial.

May 6th to 12th marks International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) in Australia, so we take a look at Nature’s circular economy…

Organic recycling refers to recycling waste from food scraps and garden waste that, if left to decompose without air in landfills, turns into the deadly environmental component, methane – a gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

In recent years, the concept of a ‘circular economy’ has become an industry buzzword and a popular approach towards a productive economy aiming to improve long-term sustainability. It is an approach that goes beyond just recycling and attempts to prevent food waste going to the landfill.

Composting is Nature’s circular economy, where food waste is reduced and reused and its nutrients recycled into fertiliser. By returning these nutrients back to the soil, rather than letting organic waste rot away in landfills we can feed diverse life in the soil. The bacteria, fungi, insects and worms in compost support healthy plant growth, which will help offset greenhouse gas emissions.

May 6th to 12th marks International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) in Australia. It is a week during which Australians are encouraged to promote the importance and benefits of composting, through workshops, demonstrations or tours. All types of composting events that encourages and celebrates composting can be registered and promoted on the official ICAW event calendar – http://www.compostweek.com.au/core/events/register-an-event/

“We need to close the loop on food waste and encourage more families and local communities to repurpose waste through composting”, says Chairman of the Centre for Organic Research & Education (CORE) Eric Love.

“Each time we throw away organics such as food scraps and garden waste in the rubbish bin we are contributing to climate alteration. A lot of people are still unaware of this and we believe that if they knew, they would try to do things differently.”

Here are some things that you can do for the circular economy, instead of throwing away your organic waste into the bin:

  • Compost it in a compost bin or heap.
  • Feed it to a worm farm, avoiding citrus, spicy food, garlic, onions, meat, dairy and processed foods such as bread, pasta.
  • Put it in the green bin; food waste is also allowed, depending on your Council.
  • Feed it to your chooks – if you are lucky enough to have a backyard!
  • If you live in an apartment, a Bokashi Bin might be more suitable. Alternatively, see if there’s a community garden nearby to give your organic waste to, as they usually have a few compost bins and worm farms.

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