Five hubs were selected by Wellington City Council via an expressions of interest process, with the first, Te MĀRAmatanga Community Garden in Te Aro, now set up and ready to start composting this week.
Two large bins have been built on the site and will be available to neighbouring households who have signed up, with Council monitoring the trial to develop a framework to support community composting hubs in the future.
Composting food scraps and green waste is one of the cheapest and simplest ways to address climate change and has lots of other immediate benefits, says Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon.
“This initiative aligns with our Zero Waste strategy to reduce organics from going into landfill by 30 percent – as it is nearly 60 percent of household collections at the moment.
“As well as reducing the amount of food scraps going to landfill, where they produce methane, and helping to extend the life of landfill sites, community hubs offer other significant social and environmental benefits.
“These include improving household composting practices through education and example, increasing opportunities for community engagement and social connection, and creating quality compost to support local food systems.”
The composting hubs also support the Council’s Food Future action plan and climate change strategy, says Manager Climate Change Response, Alison Howard.
“This is just one of the many initiatives that are part of the Council’s Resilience Strategy and Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint as we aim to make Wellington a zero-carbon capital by 2050.
“Operating alongside a diverse range of community gardens, these composting hubs promote key aspects of environmental sustainability, soil health, food sovereignty, and our connection with natural cycles that help people and nature thrive.”
Hubs are being supported to set-up or improve a variety of community composting initiatives over 12 months. Composting methods include hot composting in large wooden bins, worm farms, tumblers, and aerated static piles for green waste.
Other hubs are planned for community gardens in Mount Victoria, Tawa, Massey University’s Mount Cook Campus and Newtown Park Apartments, a social housing complex operated by Te Toi Mahana.
Composting hubs manager Michael Person says he’s looking forward to getting his hands dirty.
‘’This is such an important initiative to help bring a public profile to the amazing world of composting – healthier kai, connecting to what we eat, working together for positive social outcomes and so many other benefits.
“Having a very public compost system running in our most populated suburb, alongside a flourishing community garden, will help bring a very public face to this important work. I hope to see these all around Wellington's urban green spaces in the next 10 years. It is a privilege to be a part of it.’’
Council is providing $85,000 for the project, which includes funds for tools and infrastructure, pest control, hub managers and mentors, and support with resource consent applications where needed.
Hubs will provide workshops on composting and waste reduction for participating households and their local community over the course of the trial and will be working with groups like Kaicycle, Predator Free Wellington, and Sharewaste.