The joy of composting

Brighthelm comost schemeSince 2011 the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership has been helping people set up community compost schemes working in partnership with Brighton and Hove City Council to provide a solution for people who want to compost but live in homes without their own gardens.

Originally, we had the ambition of setting up 10 schemes across the city but we now have 37, with another eight schemes waiting in the wings. Schemes vary in size and there are currently 1000 households involved.  

Community composting helps tackle the problem of food waste by diverting household fruit and veg scraps from rubbish bins, and using the power of worms, in bins made from recycled wood, turns them into useful compost. In the words of the Preston Park compost monitor: “I always find making compost a magical process.” 

Last year community composters diverted 80 tonnes of food waste away from disposal – the equivalent of nearly six double decker buses. Most of the compost made has been given to local community gardens. Volunteers from these community gardens enjoy collecting the compost that’s created, with Marianne emailing to say “I am so grateful to be a recipient of the community’s gorgeous worm filled liquid gold – it turns the very thin soil here into a proper growing medium, full of life.” 

We recently held a composting event, to thank our lovely volunteers; the Compost Monitors. These people help keep each local scheme running by turning the compost, sending updates to members, welcoming new people and keeping in touch with us about the goings on at their scheme. Without them the schemes wouldn’t run. They dedicate time and effort into this scheme and when we asked them what they enjoy about it they said:  

“So good to help the planet to support us all.”  

“Seeing active change and helping locally.”  

“Good for educating children on ecosystems and the necessity to care for the planet.”  

“I wanted to do something active about the problem of food waste rather than seeing it as someone else’s problem.” 

Following a few months of staff changes and long-term absences respectively at the Food Partnership and City Clean (the team at the City Council), we were able to bring people together to discuss some of the challenges, look for solutions and look at what’s next for community composting. We felt that the event gave us a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with monitors and the council.  

In addition to thanking our volunteers and troubleshooting, the event also showcased for the first time a new bin design we will be rolling out for any new schemes and when replacing broken bins in current schemes. Our composting handyman “Tim the Bin” has created these marvellous new bins that are space-saving, quicker to build and install and easier to fix – see our video below.

It was amazing to see so many people sharing their stories and inspiration. The composting team here at the Food Partnership really enjoy working on the project, and hearing about the joy that our dedicated volunteers get out of composting has given us a new spring in our step and a renewed sense of purpose.  

If you are interested in getting involved please use our interactive map of the composting sites across the city to find out if one near you has space or to register an interest in setting up a new scheme near you.  

Filmed and edited by Tim Andrews – All IP rights, including unregistered design rights, belong to Tim’s Bins 2018

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