Tell us a bit about yourself.

As far as paid activities go I am an elected member of the Upper Harbour Local Board and an Members Support Organiser for FIRST Union (the trade union for workers in Retail, Finance, Transport, and Logistics). I am also an occasional lay preacher at the Church I go to and an active member of a community of Christians concerned with creation care that have formed an A Rocha group in Auckland.

Which composting methods do you use?

Presently our food waste goes into 4 Bokashi bins. Once all 4 are full the oldest is emptied of food waste into the 1 of 4 black compost bins; while the liquid from all 4 is added to the liquid compost barrels. The 4 black compost bins are layered with garden and nursery weeds (and occasionally weeds from the reserve); bokashi food scraps, and paper and cardboard. Once all these are full the oldest is emptied by way of sizing the compost to extract the sufficiently composted material that is added to potting mix in the nursery, removal of stray bits of plastic that have snuck into the bins, while the chunky bits that still need to be composted are returned to the bins. The liquid compost is two barrels of rain water and tradescantia, bokashi liquid is added to this and liquid fertiliser is taken from it as required for the nursery.

Garden weeds and lawn clippings that don’t fit in the compost bins are piled in the garden to compost on site, along with fresh and rotting wood. Trad bags and black rubbish sacks are used to kill tradescantia from weeding in Unsworth Reserve before it is added into the black bins or straight into the potting mix. Nasty noxious weeds from Unsworth Reserve; that are not easily composted; including Arum, Ginger, Ladder Fern, and Montbretia; are buried in the middle of a giant pile on a cleared clay platform in the reserve. The pile has lots of rotting wood throughout it; and the sides of the pile are made of a thick layer of pampus and soft compostable weeds. This pile continues to grow; supressing older deposits of nasty weeds with new layers on top. The final fate of the pile has yet to be decided; it may be capped with a thick pile of compostable weeds and wood, or dismantled leaving the composted matter restore the clay platform and taking the uncomposted nasties to start another pile.

My philosophy is try and waste nothing.

When did you start composting?

My parents composted their garden and kitchen scraps; and when I moved out of home I continued with their example.

Why do you do it?

Because there is no such place as “away” to which you can throw things. I feel a moral responsibility for ensuring, as much as I am capable, that my consumption and other activities does not cause damage though waste.

What do you love about it?

Saving money and not having smelly food scraps and insects around. What little we do have we send to the rubbish tip.

How do you think we can encourage more Aucklanders to compost?

Good composting is an art that not everyone has the patience for. Like all arts it is learnt and adapted; probably the best way to encourage it is just to get neighbours to work together to find solutions that work for each of them.

The Compost Collective runs free composting workshops all across Auckland. Participants get a $40 discount voucher to use on a compost system that suits them.


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