Michele and her partner live on the top floor of an apartment block in Mount Eden. With no garden or outdoor space it’s not an obvious place to find a worm farm, but for the past fifteen years Michele has been happily composting all their food waste in her worm farm in the laundry and in her Bokashi bin.

But if you have no garden, what do you do when your Bokashi bin is full and your worms have created a bin full of worm casts?

At first, Michele was using friends’ gardens to bury her Bokashi, but decided to come up with a more permanent solution by starting a community garden. Now, not only does she have somewhere to bring her Bokashi and worm compost and turn it into “gold” for the garden, but others do too. The garden advertises that anyone can bring their waste for composting, whether or not they are community gardeners, and quite a few people do.

Michele’s main incentive for starting to compost was a desire to reduce her waste. A trip to India where she saw rubbish everywhere made her realise that we are probably creating just as much with our consumer lifestyles, if not more. It’s just that we hide it better! From this point on, Michele was determined to find ways to create less waste. Her plastic bags are taken to a collection point in Mount Eden and then recycled, and she sends less than one small rubbish bag a month to landfill.

And it doesn’t stop at home. Michele’s passion for reducing waste has extended to her workplace. Together with two other people, she has implemented a recycling system in their office, using cardboard boxes under desks to separate the waste and a collection point for food waste in the kitchen. Michele takes the food waste to the community garden on her way home from work. Once a year they do a waste audit, and find that the main thing they send to landfill is coffee cups, as most of them are not recyclable.

Michele’s message is that composting is totally doable even if you don’t have a garden. She says if you only have a little bit of space, whether indoor or outdoor, then try a worm farm.

Quotes and tips from Michele:

“It’s totally doable. It’s just a question of making a few changes”.
“It would be great to see worm farms available in more shapes and sizes to cater for all different locations”. Now there’s an opportunity for someone!

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