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NSW EPA spreads the word about compost

NSW EPA compost

Millions of dollars of grants to tackle food and garden waste have been delivered by New South Wales Environment Protection Authority (NSW EPA) under its Waste Less Recycle More program since 2013.

But now with some elements of the program wrapping up in June 2022, the authority has decided to create a one-stop resource for end-use customers of compost called Cool Compost, which will see the good work extend well beyond the program itself. 

Cool Compost brings together in one place the expertise of grant recipients under the market development program to share everything learned by them with five target markets – graziers, vegetable growers, councils, landscapers/urban planners and government agencies.

Amanda Kane, Organics Manager NSW EPA, says Cool Compost will be a “living resource” that will continue to be built upon.

“Each of the projects in the Waste Less Recycle More program was required to produce information and resources to support their grant application,” Amanda says. 

“Usually that would end up in files somewhere. We thought we’d unlock it as a resource and make it available for customers who use the products and the industry itself.

“There’s a whole range of organic products needed for different applications and there’s not a great deal of awareness about these among customers. Cool Compost addresses that issue.”

Reducing and recycling organic waste is not just a NSW issue. Increasing Australia’s organic waste recycling rate from 49 per cent to 80 per cent by 2030 is a key target of the National Waste Policy. 

The Federal Government’s Food Waste for Healthy Soils fund   also recognises the benefit of converting organic waste into productive use on soils rather than going to landfill.

Amanda says diverting food waste and other organics from landfill reduces methane emissions. However, food and garden waste continues to be the largest stream going into the red lid bin and landfill. 

The $105 million Organics Infrastructure Fund under the NSW Waste Less Recycle More program aimed to tackle food and garden waste by reducing the amount of waste at its source through to creating infrastructure and reliable markets for end products.

NSW compost programAlmost $5.5 million was awarded to 38 market development projects that showcased the benefits of compost in different markets including sports field management, compost blankets for roadside rehabilitation, stormwater filtration systems and regenerative farming.

“There was a massive variety of projects,” Amanda says. 

“For instance, the Constructive Farming Co-operative Limited received funding for the Compost Buddy, an internet tool that enables farmers and agricultural advisors to independently assess the usefulness of applying compost to their specific local needs. 

“While the North Coast Local Land Services and Clarence Landcare targeted the beef grazing sector to test local recycled organics products under North Coast conditions and grazing regimes.”

What these diverse grant recipients learned has delivered rich content for the Cool Compost program, which will consist of videos and podcasts targeting each audience. The videos will feature the grant recipients or the people they worked with.

This is a project that reaches out to the end user of compost products and the industry itself,” Amanda says. 

“For the end-user customer, Cool Compost will help them know what to ask for when buying compost and show them the benefits the product will have, whether it’s soil health, increasing organic matter or carbon abatement. For industry, this will help them understand what a customer wants and allow them to tailor products for particular uses.” 

NSW EPA partnered with NSW Circular for the project. The videos and podcasts will be hosted on NSW Circular’s Circular Ag platform. Each podcast and video will include show notes that link back to grant resources and provide additional information like case studies and fact sheets.  

For more information, visit: www.epa.nsw.gov.au/compost

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