Worms, chooks and mulch – local recycling

Worms, chooks and mulch – local recycling

worms, chooks and mulch
worms, chooks and mulch


Note: I’ve written this for the ABC Radio National ‘Live Local’ program. Posted also on the POOL website. They will decide later which stories to include for the broadcast.


A large amount of rubbish destined for the dump can be recycled locally. This has benefits for the whole of society in terms of environmental sustainability. Here are some of the ways that this can be done.

If you have a garden than a compost bin is essential. You can throw in lawn clippings, leaves, shredded newspaper and cardboard, plus kitchen scraps. Eventually all that stuff breaks down into lovely soil for the garden.

Worm farms are amazing. They can be made from discarded containers or bought from your local hardware. You will have to beg, borrow or buy the worms. They eat kitchen scraps and their poo can be used as a soil conditioner. Some worm farms have a tap on the bottom and excess liquid is drawn off and used, when diluted, as a tonic for gardens. The worms can be used as a protein supplement for chickens!

Chickens are highly recommended. They eat kitchen scraps, fertilize the garden, produce eggs, eat bugs, and till the soil with their scratching behaviours. They are gorgeous and produce music to your ears with their gentle clucking.

Some men love to use machinery in the garden, such as ride-on mowers, edge trimmers, and chainsaws. But a great investment is a mulcher and the bigger the better. You can get mulchers that virtually eat up any type of organic matter, including tree trunks. My husband has a mulcher. He mulches everything from our garden plus does the neighbours stuff. If they want their mulch back, they help themselves. As long as they shut the gate behind them so the chickens don’t get out. If that happened I’d have to kill them.

But I live in a unit and haven’t got the room? This is a real issue and obviously you can’t have chickens. But you may be able to have a Bokashi bucket, which is a bucket with a lid that seals completely and which has a tap at the bottom. It is odour free and can go on the kitchen bench or under the counter. You put in food scraps and add micro-organisms that break down (ferment) the contents. Excess liquid is diluted to make liquid fertiliser. When the bucket is full you put the contents in a compost bin or bury it in a garden. It breaks down into a nutrient rich soil conditioner.

Boxes and cartons can be donated to local schools for art projects.

If you recycle your rubbish locally just think how empty your council bin will be!

18 thoughts on “Worms, chooks and mulch – local recycling

    1. They are amazing. The Japanese use them a lot, people who live in apartments and who have access to communal gardens. Just Google and you will find. They are a bit expensive but then you don’t have to buy fertilizer.

  1. oh communal gardens..allotments..that would be great. I’m looking for a plant that can survive a European winter in a windowbox- unfortunately that’s the extent of my gardening talent.

    Congratulations on the piece for the ABC, I’m sure it’ll be snapped up!

    Say hi to your mum in law for me won’t you. Yeah, it’s very strange, such a small world…

    Was on Skype to Childers a few minutes ago…looks like a hot day already started down your way…!

    1. Allotments always remind me of ‘The Eastenders’ – someone was always going down to the allotment. It will get up to about 30degrees Celsius today and even hotter next week. There’s some storm clouds brewing. I would say hello to Ann from you but she won’t know who ‘screamish’ is – maybe you could email me your real name – gasp!!!!

    1. Leaf blowers are a waste of space. The only problem with Bokashi buckets is lugging the damn thing downstairs to the garden and emptying them (a bit messy all round) and if living in a unit you have to find somewhere to put the stuff. Pompadour is getting ridiculously good looking.

    1. She certainly does! It’s quite magical in the garden this time of year (Spring). We have a lot of parrots (Rainbow Lorikeets – very colourful with blue, red and green feathers) that visit every day (we feed them) near where the chickens are free-ranging. The days are very (31 degrees today) warm and no clouds in the sky. Are you allowed to have chickens where you live?

  2. no, chicken are not allowed, we are in the city.
    Parrots added to the list! It’s not fair…
    the only wild beast here in town are skunks, nocturnal, beautiful but stinking and raccoons, annoying because garbage thief. We don’t see them often.

  3. Speaking of Eastenders, my Gran used to grow marrows and rhubarb on her allotment. Some of her marrows were prize-winning!

    I am hoping to get a worm farm for Christmas. My friend has one and you should see how great her flowers look. I can’t wait!

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