Our Wellington

News | 27 April 2021

The welcome benefits of worm farming

Food waste makes up about a third of domestic rubbish going to Poneke’s Southern Landfill. This comes at a huge cost to Wellingtonians and the environment.

To help find a city-wide solution to combat the issue, Wellington City Council is running Para Kai Miramar, a year-long initiative which sees 450 households on the Miramar Peninsula trial one of three different composting methods.

We checked in with Miramar resident Ashleigh to find out how she was getting on with her worm farm.

Miramar resident Ashley, wearing sunglasses, crouching behind her vegetable garden with another planter box and a white house behind her.
Ashleigh at home with her blooming vegetable garden in Miramar.

Cats and caterpillars were once the only pet critters roaming Ashleigh’s Miramar yard, but now she’s also the proud guardian of a clew of worms.

A keen gardener and environmentally mindful, Ashleigh was only too happy to take part in the trial and says she and her partner are loving the experience.

“It’s so easy! You get the bin and some instructions, put it together and give the worms a little bit of time to get used to their new home – you’ve got to make sure it only gets morning sun and no direct wind or who knows where it could end up.

“I have a weekly reminder in my phone to make sure it is moist and they are fed. We have a container on the bench for all the things they can eat and every couple of days we lift the lid to see how they are getting on.

“Any cuttings from my garden also end up in there. We just have to save a piece of cardboard every so often from the recycling and you're all done. My partner and I love it – we love doing our little bit for the environment where we can.”

Ashleigh says thanks to the worm farm, their rubbish bin isn't nearly as full as it once was, and the worm tea (liquid fertilizer which is collected underneath the farm) has been wonderful for her garden and indoor pots.

“Why pay for your food waste to end up in a landfill when you can buy a one-off set of worms and get the benefits instantly? Our pet worms are providing nutrients for my plants and saving food from going to the landfill. We should all have a worm farm!”

A white pottle of food scraps about to be emptied into a worm farm, a black tub of decomposing food and cardboard.
Fresh food scraps going into the worm farm to feed the little critters.

Kerbside collection

In addition to the backyard composters, Council is trialling a kerbside collection of binned food scraps from 500 households on the Miramar Peninsula. The collected food waste is delivered to the Capital Compost facility at the Southern Landfill and turned into compost.

Preliminary results show that participating households are diverting an average of 3 kilograms of food waste per week from landfill, with an estimated total of about 16,442kg diverted since Para Kai launched in mid-October 2020.

A monarch butterfly, perched on a thorny branch, with blurred  pink blooms in behind.
Ashleigh's Miramar garden attracts all sorts of wildlife.

The results from the Para Kai trial will be used to inform a city-wide solution for food waste. Find out more about the Miramar Peninsula Para Kai trial.