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Community Composting

The presentation documented (below) is highly relevent to how Brighton and Hove City Council ought to be handling food waste instead of continuing with the poor environmental practice of mixing it in with black bag rubbish and storing a constant stream of it within 400M of schools and residential homes and gardens at the poorly constructed Hollingdean Depot Waste Transfer Station.

Jane Wilde of East London Community Recycling 

"working for communities - Composting alternatives to incineration". 

Jane's presentation focused on what Councils, local residents and community enterprises can do to minimize the problems of waste disposal.

She started by describing the East London Community Recycling Scheme, which collects and composts food waste.

Lottery money is used to fund this scheme and food waste collections are made from 5000 households in Hackney and a lesser number of households in some other neighbouring boroughs.

Local residents are given (EM Bokashi) micro-organisms to break down the food waste, so that 'good microbes' result in no smells and no problems with rats, flies or cats seeking to open black bags.

All the composting is done in the neighbourhoods where the food waste is produced. The compost is then given back to residents and used to green the estate. The scheme, employs over 30 local residents and their uniformed presence has led to reduced 'fear of crime' among Hackney residents.

Jane Wilde emphasized that the very best way is to compost is at home, and it needed an intervention from the floor to satisfy her that Brighton and Hove City Council and CityClean are indeed encouraging Home Composting. Jane also mentioned the efficiency of wormeries from recycled tyres.

She continued her talk by outlining some larger composting schemes, which Councils in other parts of the country are using:

1. Aerobic Digester (Biotel)
Can handle raw meat and fish. Makes liquid fertiliser

2. Vertical Composters (TEG)
Invessel Composter TEG
Valuable compost, decreased odour and pathogens.

3. Anaerobic Digesters
Prevents CH4 methane and CO2 Carbon Dioxide going to landfill, as forbidden now under the Landfill Directive. (methane is 22 times as harmful as CO2 in landfill).
Produces bio-fertilizer
Produces renewable electricity
Greenfinch in Shropshire
Shropshire District Council

Jane Wilde concluded that the very worst thing that we could do with food waste is to incinerate it together with other black bag waste.
For example, the incineration of 3000 tons of food waste requires 870 tonnes of water - water which could be saved for far better uses.

There is great scope here for improving our management of waste in Brighton and Hove. Food waste accounts for 25%-30% of the waste stream (our black bag waste). Together Kitchen and Garden accounts for betwen 30-35%. By separating out this waste, which should not really be with the rest of the black bag waste, the 65%-70% which remains in the black bag will be a lot cleaner. This will make Materials Recovery and Recycling a lot easier.

Background to the Meeting
The above meeting was held by Dump the Dump on 19th July 2006 at the Brighthelm Community Centre to publicize their campaign's commitment to a more sustainable Waste Local Plan. Together with other groups in the city, they are demanding:

* a rejection of the current Waste Local Plan – with its dependence on waste-bulking and incineration for waste disposal

* the re-negotiation of the £1 billion 25 year Integrated Waste Contract with Veolia Environmental Services – to deliver technology that is fit for the future in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex

* that the Council should follow the lead of other authorities - who are developing more sustainable alternatives for dealing with their waste.

More articles on Hollingdean Depot

This page was last updated by Ted on 03-Nov-2015
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