Food and garden waste collected in Monash is taken to a commercial composting facility in Dandenong South that turns this material into compost.
The facility uses manual and machine sorting processes to remove contamination (items that don’t belong in the food and garden waste bin), and then shreds and sorts the food and garden waste into different sized material.
The smaller shredded material is composted through in-vessel pasteurising for about 2 weeks. This means the material is fully enclosed in an aerobic composting system where it is exposed to temperatures of 55C or more to reduce pathogen levels. The compost material is left to further breakdown through microbial activity and ‘mature’ in indoor windrows. The compost is turned regularly to keep it aerated and decrease moisture and temperature levels. This slows down the composting process and the composted material becomes suitable for use on land.
Different grades of compost and mulch products (made from the bigger-sized garden material) are produced. These products leave the composting facility and are transferred to market gardeners and soil companies that further refine and blend the compost and mulch to sell to farms or garden retailers.
The compost product can be used as a soil conditioner to feed plants and improve soil carbon, while the mulch product can be used on top of the ground to deter weeds and stop moisture loss.