The most recent waste composition assessment for South Taranaki showed the almost 30% of all our waste sent to landfill is organic material which could break down in a natural environment.
It is a common misconception that organic matter breaks down in landfill. For a number of reasons, it does not. This is because organic matter needs oxygen, moisture and living organisms to biodegrade fully.
When a landfill is built and engineered, it is lined with heavy-duty liners so that nothing can reach the soil surrounding it. Drains and pipes are also built for removing and treating any water run-off, and the waste is buried everyday with contaminated soil or clean fill.
This creates an anaerobic environment (no oxygen) so no natural decomposition bugs can survive, and the waste is essentially preserved in the earth (click here for more details).
So, the best way to dispose of food scraps and organics is in your own back yard through composting, worm farms, bokashi or chickens! If everybody did this, our waste going to landfill would drop by 30% overnight!
Check out the Composting Collective for some great online resources.
You can compost:
- food scraps*
- tea and coffee grounds
- garden waste
- tissues and paper towels
- paper and cardboard
- vacuum dust
* be aware that while meat and bones provide good nutrients for your compost, they can attract unwanted rodents and insects like rats and flies. You should also avoid cat and dog faeces or diseased plants as this spreads parasites and plant disease.
Council holds waste minimisation workshops on composting worm farms and other initiatives. Keep an eye on the local papers, or register your interest for upcoming events by emailing our Environment & Sustainability Officer.