Get Familiar With Australia’s First National Composting Network Tackling Our Food Waste Crisis

By Isabel Croker
19th May 2021

a large green salad

In the age where sustainability is a hot topic—and one of the most frequently searched words on Google—it’s clear we all know the importance of working towards a greener future. But are we all playing our part in protecting our planet? Yeah, we’re looking at you, plastic straw users, non-recyclers and litter dumpers. 

Although you might not be partaking in any of those environmentally damaging habits, there’s always something a little extra we can do to protect our environment. Composting may not sound glamorous but it’s an amazing way you can make a huge impact and we’re here to get you started on reducing your foodprint. You’ll never look at old banana peels in the same way.

Australia’s first national composting network, Compost Connect, is tackling the nation’s growing food waste crisis and aims to close the loop on product life cycles. Launching this month, the innovative online platform connects food service business and people to compost sites nationwide, making it easier for consumers to find local businesses who are composting and divert their waste from landfill to nutrient-rich compost. Winning.

Compost Connect predicts they will drastically reduce the one million tonnes of organic waste created by Australia’s foodservice industry every year. That's the weight of nearly 19 Sydney Harbour Bridges. To put this stat into monetary terms, food waste costs the Australian economy around $20 billion and personally, we waste about 300 kilograms of food per person annually. 

These daunting figures might seem overwhelming but before we go all doom and gloom on you, there’s plenty of inspiring organisations, like Compost Connect, which are choosing to take action and be part of the solution (not the pollution). Compost Connect currently services over 2, 200 postcodes and has diverted over 4,500 tonnes of organic waste from landfill into compost. That’s what we call cutting the rubbish.

So how does this epic composting network actually work? Let’s break it down for you (get it?). Businesses divert their food scraps and compostable packaging from landfill by installing one of the Compost Connect bins in their venue. They simply fill up the bin and it will be picked up and delivered to a local compost service, turning their organic waste into compost. This might not sound like much but an average-sized cafe can divert around 150 kilograms of organics from landfill every week—that’s a whopping 7,800 kilograms saved in one year. 

Consumers can play their part by showing support for these businesses, using compostable packaging and purchasing the compost from the compost sites to use in their own homes. That’s what we call a full-circle moment. By connecting consumers and foodservice businesses with the organic waste industry, Compost Connect is helping to grow access to organic recycling and instigate widespread change. It’s pretty dang inspiring that we can make a global impact, just by making changes at the local level.

This change-making non-profit has some pretty awesome names backing it, including celebrity chef Neil Perry, who is implementing the composting service at his new, sustainability-focused restaurant, Margaret, in Double Bay. Perry says he has grave concerns for the future of Australia and is calling for others in the hospitality sector to take accountability for their waste.

“We need to work together to address the problem, reduce organic waste and contribute to achieving a better society for future generations. This initiative is going to change how the foodservice industry operates for the greater good of our country,” says Perry. 

In a time of increased environmental pressure, it’s more important than ever to recognise we all have a responsibility to make changes now to shape our future for the better. You don’t need to be a next-level eco-warrior to instigate powerful change—compost those old vegetables, support a local Compost Connect business and do your part to tread a little lighter on our planet. 

Are you feeling inspired and want to live more sustainably? We caught up with some of Australia’s biggest sustainability champions to give you an insight into what the circular economy is all about and how you can implement this sustainable mindset into your everyday life.

Image Credit: Kaboompics

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