Kate is one of our first users who offered their compost bin to her neighbours. She lives in Sydney Inner West, is passionate about community, living sustainably in cities and connecting with nature.
Hi Kate, thank you for joining us. How did you find out about ShareWaste?
I saw a pop up on my local feed in my Facebook group and straight away decided I wanted to join. After I saw the initial post, it seemed to pop up on a whole lot of Facebook groups I’ve been subscribed to.
You are in contact with other neighbours who bring their scraps to you. Who are these people and how often do you see them?
I’m at work a lot and the people have busy lives as well so I don’t always see them every week. I like that the people are really diverse. There is a software developer, a radio producer, a wedding photographer and some others. I have 7 people altogether. They are lovely because they care about how to live on this planet.
Having 7 people bring their kitchen waste to your house needs some kind of system. How does the drop-off work?
The people that drop-off have 2 buckets. They drop-off the full bucket with the lid on my verandah, I put it in the compost bin and rinse it out. I’m using water from a rainwater tank. They can pick up the bucket from the verandah anytime. That seems to work well. Some people care to bring even a very small amount of waste and have just a one-litre yoghurt container.
What do you do with the compost you produce?
This summer I’m growing sunflowers, tomatoes, beans and basil in a little courtyard in a raised bed. Compost retains moisture better than any soil, which is really important because it’s been a really dry summer. I grew a sunflower three times as big as my son.
Do you have any tips for other compost bin owners?
You should aerate your compost as much as possible, otherwise it’s anaerobic and it doesn’t break down easily. I’ve got a tumbler and aerate the compost 3 times a week. If you don’t have one, you can get a little spiral thing that helps the airflow in the composter. It breaks down so much faster in it.
What do you like most about ShareWaste?
When I was growing up, most people had backyards, chooks and were composting. My parents and grandparents grew all their vegetables. We never put food waste in the bin. I love that ShareWaste makes waste into something useful. I’m happy that compost helps me grow a little bit and I love that the project is community driven. It’s really easy, it’s brilliant and all the people who come are just a block or two from me. It’s been great that I’ve met neighbours I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We’ve organized a catch-up for a cup of tea with some of them.
Things can get a bit depressing with all the things happening in the world, but there are these little nice things. Sometimes people feel like they can’t change anything, but this proves they actually can.
What else do you do to live more sustainably?
I live in Newtown and there is a lot of op shopping. There’s quite a lot of Facebook groups where people pass on things they don’t need anymore. I collect scrunchable plastic because some of the large supermarkets are now accepting it. It’s called Redcycle. I also have rainwater tanks and a solar system.
Is there something that could be done in your neighbourhood to help locals reduce their household waste?
Perhaps councils could have something like free organic food waste collections. Then you wouldn’t need to worry about things that can’t be composted like meat or dairy. Or this service could be provided by the council for a small fee.