In Australia, around 13 million tonnes of COz equivalent are generated as a result of organic waste going to landfill (approx. 3% of Australia’s total emissions). To help combat this Muswellbrook Shire Council introduced a garden organics kerbside collection service for their residents in 2004/2005. Since then, Muswellbrook Shire Council has been decontaminating, mulching, and composting this material on site at Muswellbrook Waste & Recycling Facility. The finished product has been supplied in bulk to local mine sites, vineyards, and other customers that can provide their own bulk transport. However, Muswellbrook Shire Council wanted to provide access to these products to the wider community, including households, community gardens, and schools.
The central aim of this project was to create a closed-loop system to bring organic materials to a self-renewing cycle. Towards achieving this Muswellbrook Shire Council needed to:
Muswellbrook Shire Council’s Garden Improver has enabled them to not only divert waste from landfill, but to convert it to a valuable resource that improves agricultural soils, boosts the economy, and creates jobs. By providing the Garden Improver to the community, domestic customers can return nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the soil in a simple way. The nutrient recycling process helps maintain soil fertility and reduce reliance on synthetic fertilisers while closing the nutrient loop. In addition, the Garden Improver is produced locally at a small to medium scale; reducing transportation related emissions, supporting local economic development, and providing a value for money product to the local community.
In the period of March to July 2023, over 300 15kg bags of Garden Improver were sold to the community, with sales likely to increase leading into Spring. The success of the Garden Improver highlights the importance of engaging and empowering the community towards achieving sustainability goals.