Local students make composting wheely cool

Published on 13 April 2018

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Murrindindi Shire Council believes grassroots efforts to advance environmental sustainability are critical in addressing the challenges we all face. 

Murrindindi Shire’s Natural Environment and Climate Change Portfolio Councillor Rebecca Bowles said there are lots of community-led initiatives happening around the Shire that are making fantastic contributions in different ways.

“One initiative Council is particularly proud to have contributed to is Alexandra Secondary College’s Community Composting Project.

“Last year, the Upper Goulburn Landcare Network approached Council for support towards purchasing a cargo bike for the school’s newly-established Community Project. The Community Project, a subject which runs as part of the school’s Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) program, is funded by Bendigo Bank

“The students use the cart, dubbed ‘Worms on Wheels’, to travel about town collecting food scraps from local businesses, residents and, of course, Council offices. Then they use these scraps and other carbon materials in their compost,” Cr Bowles said.

“The original idea was inspired by Yea’s ‘Break it Down’ Community Composting Project success which, led by Zanni Waldstein, was launched in 2014 with funding from The Hamer Sprout Fund.

“Like the Yea Project, Alexandra’s Community Composting Project aims to make a real and positive difference to the way we think about and handle food waste,” Cr Bowles said.

Jodie Morrison, composting facilitator on the Alexandra Project said the students involved have become really interested in where and how their food is grown.

“Even though the local traders are already doing a good job of minimising food waste, the students are surprised by the amount of coffee grounds being sent to landfill. It’s starting the conversation about how we can use resources more productively and how to turn waste into a useful end product.

Zanni Waldstein of Yea’s ‘Break it Down’ Project said the VCAL students involved also benefit from developing community connections.

“It’s really important in rural areas to ensure young people get engaged with the local community so they get a chance to develop their skills, networks and personal relationships.

“The kids become more involved in the community, people get to know their faces and see them getting involved and showing initiative, so it gives them a foot up in the job market too,” Ms Waldstein said.