Apartment buildings are uniquely placed to make a significant impact in sustainably processing food waste.
In recognition of the need to keep organics out of landfill the City of Melbourne ran trials of onsite composting of food waste.
Wormlovers was successful in tendering to trial organic waste management at the Hero Building in the centre of Melbourne. Thirteen Hungry Bins were installed for the six month trial, taking up previously unused space in the carpark.
To recruit participants from the building, City of Melbourne ran a leaflet drop and held a promotional stall in the foyer during which Wormlovers demonstrated the Hungry Bin and engaged residents to answer their questions. Caddies were provided to the tenants to reduce hurdles to participation, but also as a visual reminder in the kitchen to seperate food scraps for the worms.
The trial was so successful the building management purchased the array of bins at the end of the six months, and engaged Wormlovers to service the worm farms on a fortnightly basis to ensure smooth running of the system.
I like being able to use the compost because… It makes me feel good about myself, and the environment (Hero building resident)
The key to success has been the engagement of both the building management and the residents. Initial concerns that the worm farms would smell, or attract pests were allayed - well functioning worm farms do neither - and buy-in from the building manager ensured a positive experience for tenants. Clear signage is crucial, and every opportunity is taken to catch up with the worm farm contributors during the ongoing Wormlovers services.
Residents use the outputs from the worm farms on their balcony gardens, further cementing their ownership of the process. Experiencing the full cycle of nutrients going from their kitchen, through the worm farms and back into their plants embeds both the importance and the ease of being truly sustainable with food waste.
Engaging people positively in managing their organic waste right were it is created has ongoing environmental, social and community benefits.