A group of eco-aware flat residents in the popular Churchward Estate in Swindon have come together to tackle kitchen waste, in a trial run by Wiltshire Wildlife trust in partnership with Swindon Borough Council.
“These enthusiastic residents are keen to show people that living in flats or small homes with little outdoor space needn’t be a barrier to composting,” says Kate Robinson, the Trust’s Waste Minimisation Development Officer.
“The key is choosing the right type of compost bin to suit your circumstances,” she adds. “The residents in the Churchward Estate have little outdoor space so a conventional compost bin was not an option.”
“The solution was to set up each resident with an individual Bokashi bin,” she adds. “These bins are small and compact so they can easily fit into any kitchen. They have an air tight lid to avoid smells from seeping out and a tap built in to allow the excess fluid to be drained off.”
Graham Morris, resident and a director of the management company for the estate, was thrilled to take part in the trial: “The scheme has reduced our waste massively. First we had the boxes for recycling, and now with the Bokashi bin, our black bin waste is almost nothing, just the odd bit of plastic packaging that can’t be recycled.”
“Everybody involved in the trial is incredibly positive about it. We are about to distribute more flyers to encourage even more neighbours to take part.”
“The compost we make can be spread on the shrub borders in the communal grounds, or used in pot plants or in participating houses’ gardens.”
The Bokashi bins – which were invented in Japan – usually take two weeks to fill with a combination of kitchen scraps and a special bran impregnated with ‘efficient micro-organisms’. Once the bin is full, the mixture is left to ferment for two weeks after which it is added a communal compost bin.
“The communal compost bin used in this scheme is a converted wheelie bin which sits alongside the other wheelie bins, so it’s unobtrusive. It has a built-in tap to drain off any fluid and is lined with a breathable mesh which makes it easy to empty when full,” says Kate. “Woodchip is added to provide the ‘brown’ material necessary to make good compost, and after 6 to 12 months the compost will be ready.”
This scheme is the second communal composting trial set up by the Trust in Swindon. The first was launched last October in the sheltered housing units of Arthur Bennett Court.
“We want to show people how easy it is to compost even when you don’t live in a house with a big garden. Anybody can do it, and there is usually a solution for you no matter where you live,” adds Kate.
If you live in a flat, why not give it a go? For details contact Kate at the Trust on (01793) 814823 or email her at email@example.com.
If you would like to find out more about composting, the different methods available and how you can help others to start on their ‘composting journey’ why not join the Swindon Compost Ambassadors, a network of compost enthusiasts? They run free training courses throughout the year – the first of this year’s courses at Lower Shaw Farm on 28 February is already booked up.
Compost Ambassadors receive a bi-annual newsletter with the latest advice on composting and are invited to help at events and provide advice to friends and neighbours.
“Your level of involvement will be up to you – the team meets regularly in the Fox and Hounds in Haydon Wick, or you can simply be kept informed on the network. The courses are free of charge and include lunch,” adds Kate.
For details, contact Kate at the Trust on (01793) 814823 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.