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!