The Home Composting Project

Sep 11, 2017

The Home Composting Project was a multi-layered, creative education campaign that supported people to compost their food waste at home instead of sending it to landfill where it releases harmful methane gases into the atmosphere.

There were three layers to this project:

  • The first was focused on “passive education” that happened through installing large-scale public artwork in the city educating people how to compost.
  • The second layer was all about “active education” which took place through hosting two free home-composting workshops in Hobart.
  • The third layer was advising the City of Hobart in updating their website to include information on how to compost food waste at home.

But why?

Current figures indicate that up to 47% of Hobart kerbside bins are pure food waste[1] – this is both a big environmental and economic problem and a big opportunity. Environmentally, the main problem is that once food waste is buried in the ground it becomes anaerobic, eventually releasing harmful methane gases into the atmosphere.

“Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 28 to 36 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 100-year period.”

Hello climate change and a plethora of social, environmental and economic challenges. We think it’s best to avoid this at all costs, hence turning the problem (food waste) into the solution (healthy compost to return to the soil).

To do this we worked with a group of households to (a) teach them how to compost, and (b) record how much they composted over one month to determine its effectiveness in keeping food waste out of landfill. They each received identical “compost kits” that made accurate data collection possible.

The outcomes for this brief, but effective project Include:

While the outcomes you can see above might appear modest, the power of this model is that it’s easy and affordable TO SCALE UP to be a highly effective approach to help keep food waste out of landfill.

Cost projections show that by investing in an educational program that’s free for the public to access, you could potentially divert hundreds (and eventually thousands) of tonnes of food waste from landfill per year and save tens (and eventually hundreds) of thousands of dollars by reducing processing fees.

A second layer to the project

Involved collaborating with local artist, Rachel Tribout, to create three large compost billboards that were displayed in central Hobart for 3 months. They were educational, beautiful and big – with the largest one measuring 7.8m x 2.3m.

A very happy me with the smallest of the 3 billboards

The third & final layer to this project

Was focused on working with the City of Hobart to update their website to include some educational information, supporting people to compost at home. This involved making easy-to-download flyers from the billboards and making them permanently available to the public as you can see below.

The City of Hobart are now exploring the feasibility of having a kerbside collection service specifically for food waste to further decrease the percentage of it ending up in landfill.   However as outlined in their Waste Management Strategy, this wouldn’t mean support for home composting disappears – rather it would be one of a range of approaches. We’re fans of not putting all your eggs in one basket so support this approach to turning this current pollution into a soil-loving solution.

  • Did you know: The City of Hobart have a unique and quality composting facility where they currently compost green waste that the public give them. Once composted this is then sold back to the community and while not certified organic (the inputs are too variable), it’s currently the best quality compost we’re aware of commercially available.
  • Thanks to the City of Hobart for funding this project – we loved it.

Some references & resources

your thoughts:

4 Comments

  1. Megan McGowan

    Oh wow! What a great project! I love the way you had all kinds of different strategies rather than one, and the art work on the billboards is so beautiful. Here’s hoping other councils pick up the program.

    Reply
  2. Kylie W

    The Tweed City Council introduced a 3 bin system this year. One bin is for compost materials, one for recycled, one for plastics. Such a forward thinking Council. Your posters would be helpful in educating our community further. Love all that you are doing.

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      Sounds great Kylie! Local Councils all across Australia are really starting to do some great work – so heartening to see!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You might also like…

Crowdsourcing Photos For My New Book!

Crowdsourcing Photos For My New Book!

Hi Friends, I’m in the process of writing my second book about how to grow food in any climate in Australia (due out late 2023 with Affirm Press). As it’s covering the whole, vast country I would so very dearly love to include photos of edible gardens in different climates to show folks what’s possible […]

Mounding Potatoes – Or Not

Mounding Potatoes – Or Not

There are many varieties of potatoes (aka spuds) but only two key categories they all fall into. Determinate and indeterminate. Determinate potatoes don’t grow very tall and only produce spuds in one layer of soil so you don’t need to mound them. They also generally mature quicker than indeterminate types, a good thing to know […]

Eat Those Weeds

Eat Those Weeds

I’m a big fan of eating weeds. But first, what even is a weed? A common description is that it’s simply a plant in the wrong place – meaning us humans don’t want it there as it may be compromising the ecological integrity of that place or crowding other plants we want to thrive. But […]

How To Grow Food From Scraps

How To Grow Food From Scraps

As I have a large garden and the luxury of space, I don’t usually make time to experiment with growing food in tight spaces. But I’ve always been curious about growing food from scraps. So I made the time – thank you curiosity. I saved some scraps from going straight into the compost bin and […]

Vote For Gardening Australia!

Vote For Gardening Australia!

Hello Dear Friends, I have two bits of exciting news to share with you, which can be summed up with Costa’s (host of Gardening Australia) gorgeous smile below… After being a guest presenter on Gardening Australia since 2019, I recently became an official permanent member of their team. Oh the joy!!! This is very exciting […]

Getting Ready For The Australian Federal Election!

Getting Ready For The Australian Federal Election!

Any minute we’ll have a date for the Australian federal election. Which means any minute we’ll know the exact day when we can take strong and meaningful action on the climate emergency. Every election is so important, but when it comes to the climate emergency and actually acting in time to prevent runaway climate chaos, […]

Home Harvest 2022

Home Harvest 2022

We’ve just wrapped up our third Home Harvest. It was so good that I’m sharing it with you here. But first, what even is it?? Funded by the City of Hobart and supported by Eat Well Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania, Home Harvest is a one day self guided edible garden tour around the nipaluna/Hobart […]

Home Harvest Host Call Out!

Home Harvest Host Call Out!

We’re happy to announce we’re working with Eat Well Tasmania and Sustainable Living Tasmania to hold our third annual “Home Harvest” garden tour in the Hobart region!  Special thanks to the City of Hobart for funding this great initiative. Home Harvest is going to be a one day event on Saturday March 5th, 2022 in and around Hobart where […]

6 Hacks For Easy Chook Keeping

6 Hacks For Easy Chook Keeping

If you’re looking to start keeping chickens, or are wanting to tweak and refine your current system, this video is for you. I’ve summarised just six hacks which will transform you and your chicken’s lives and included some more links to other highly useful things you can do in the resources list at the end […]

Managing Your Perennial Kale “Trees”

Managing Your Perennial Kale “Trees”

This week I’ve put together a little follow up video on the “Perennial Kale Trees” video I did around a month ago.  I explain how you manage the plants once they go to seed or get invaded by aphids – which happens to us all! This little video shows you a simple way you can […]

Edible Flowers

Edible Flowers

You may not realise that so many of the flowers in your garden can actually feature in your next meal.  In this latest Good Life For All video I take you for a stroll through our garden where I harvest and eat seven different flowers. This is the 12th video in our Good Life For […]

Food Forests

Food Forests

Come for a tour of a few of our small food forests to learn what they are, the plants we’ve included and how they play a key role in our steep landscape. This is the 11th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks […]