Want to save money on your rubbish collections? Victor shares his story of getting started with composting after he researched ways to reduce rubbish collection costs.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Victor and I live in the Wairau Valley, in a house with a small outdoor space, that has lots of clay soil! I moved to Auckland about a year and a half ago from Hong Kong, to study at AUT.

What composting methods do you use?
I’m using a traditional cold compost bin with a Bokashi system. I like to combine these two methods, because it gives you the option to compost almost everything. I put fresh food scraps, like peelings and trimmings, straight into my cold compost bin and then use my Bokashi for processed and cooked foods.

When did you start composting and what do you enjoy about it?
When I moved out of student accommodation, I was shocked at how much it cost to dispose of rubbish. Where I live, you have to pay each time you put a bin out for collection. So I started researching how I could reduce my rubbish disposal costs. I realised that as I do have some outdoor space, starting a composting system could help me reduce my rubbish disposal fees.

Why do you compost, even if you aren’t using some or all of the end results yourself?
In the beginning, although I primarily started composting to save money, I came to realise other benefits of composting: I’m disposing my food scraps in an environmentally-friendly way and my kitchen rubbish bin is no longer smelly.  From a macroscopic perspective, I am also doing my bit in tackling global warming and climate change.

When I first moved into my home, I had one large wheelie bin for landfill rubbish that I was putting out for collection every two weeks. After starting my composting systems, I switched to a smaller landfill bin which takes me three to four weeks (or sometimes even longer) to fill up.

Composting is also great for managing food that has gone bad or expired: I can put them into the appropriate compost bin and let them decompose naturally, rather than sending them off to the landfill (which makes me feel guilty).

How do you make composting an easy part of your everyday life?
I have a metal bowl I keep nearby when I’m preparing food – all my fresh vegetable and fruit trimmings and peels go in the bowl, which I then add straight into my cold compost bin. I add any other food scraps to the Bokashi bin as needed.

What would you recommend about composting to other people?
As well as learning about composting, you can also learn more about gardening skills. Some parts of composting are really very enjoyable. I’ve learned about various plants and insect species, how to manage clay soil, and attending the Compost Collective workshops has taught me new skills and knowledge as well as expanded my social network. Getting outside is also very therapeutic. It’s also an easy way to feel like you are doing your bit to help the environment.

What more do you think can be done to encourage others to compost?
I think we have to get people to understand that composting is not a difficult process, especially if you do have some outdoor space. As global citizens living on this precious planet, I feel that it is everybody’s social and environmental responsibility to compost if they have the means to do so. I grew up in Hong Kong, a heavily urban environment: if a city boy like me can learn how to compost, then anyone can!


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