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Rubbish recycling

posted Jan 21, 2015, 9:26 PM by   [ updated Jan 24, 2015, 7:24 PM ]
Fig.1  A lady farmer near a compost heap.

Wellington city council seems to be considering a price hike for the rubbish bags. Rubbish is a headache in many places.

"In a world without poo, all the flies wouldn't breed   and the soil would begin to run down, But a pile of manure is all that you need salvation with pong but don't frown"

"If you go to the country and load up your boot

With chook poo and cow poo plus horse

You'll have garden success and you'll save lots of loot

In growing organic of course.

'It's the smell' I can tell that your family will yell

'We fear it will injure the brain'

Good health is the issue with poo, not the smell

So just use it again and again".

Courtsey :- Lazy gardner  by Don Burke..........Mervyn Kemp library  Tawa.  Wellington.

Here is a method to convert foul smelling organic waste into a sweet smelling fertilizer, which would ripen tomatoes and make your roses bloom.

Fig. 1b  Time to decay   ( Sent by Vincent Talaiver)

The project could be undertaken even without any investment apart from a few hours of garden labour. You have only to set the conditions right and the transformation would be carried out by the unpaid workers such as bacteria, fungi and worms.  This process, decomposition, which takes place in nature, when applied to agriculture has been termed ‘composting’.

There are innumerable ways of making compost. A few of the easy, inexpensive but hygienic methods would be discussed here.

1. Trench method.

If you are a busy person, yet you wish to grow some flowers or vegies, this would be the ideal method for you.

Select a spot where you wish to grow the plants and dig a pit or a trench, spade width or a bit wider.  The depth depends on what you wish to plant and the nature of your refuse. If the plants are a deep rooted   variety or you wish to dump odorous materials such as fish and meat throwaways, you got to bury them deeper so as to prevent scavengers from digging them out.

Start adding rubbish from one end to the other.   Every time you add rotting stuff that may give an odor cover them up with leaves, grass or crumpled paper and top them up with soil. Let the organisms in the soil, such as bacteria, fungi and worms start the process of decay with the help of water and oxygen. As animal waste would be rich in bacteria such materials can accelerate the process.


1.       Kitchen waste.

2.       Grass and plant clippings.

3.       Dry leaves and straw.

4.       Paper.

5.       Cotton and wool.

6.       Wood shavings (untreated)

7.       Animal dung & urine.

Not suitable.

1.       Polythene.

2.       Plastics.

3.       Nails and heavy metals.

4.       Batteries.

5.       Glass and ceramics.

6.       Rubber (Tyres)

Planting may commence as the soil level reaches the surface.  As the conversion of rubbish into humus (fertilizer) will take nearly two months early plants will have to be spoon fed.  Along with the early plantings, the surface level will go down as the decaying process will reduce the volume of rubbish.  Either more soil or some form of mulch could be added to stabilize the plants.  

2. Pile  Method.

This is also an aerobic method of converting rubbish into valuable compost.  If digging is not your forte and do not wish to invest on a container, you may select this method. Provided you manage your process carefully the pile will not emanate any bad odors.  Yet it would be wise to select a spot in your garden where it would not be an eyesore to the neighbours. 

Fig.2    Layers in a compost heap.

Although the pile has to be in contact with soil for the organisms to enter and the excess water to sink a few porous bricks may be laid as the base. From there upwards kitchen waste and other refuse may be added mixing up at intervals. 

Though the diagram shows neatly arranged layers, it is not possible to maintain it as the heap has to be shoveled and mixed up for aeration.   Oxygen, water and nitrogen rich materials (greens provide this) are essential for the bacteria to be active Brown matter having a high carbon ratio help porosity and aeration.  While excess of water will give a bad smell lack of it will slow down the process.

Nitrogen rich refuse ( Greens)

Carbon rich refuse   (Browns)

Grass from lawn mower.

Plant clippings with tender stems.

Kitchen refuse.

Dried leaves, woody stems & roots.

Straw, hey and wood shavings   (from untreated timber.

Paper & card board.

3. Barrel Method

Barrels have been used for this process in various ways.  One very efficient method is the tumbler method discussed here.  The idea is to rotate the barrel to mix the contents which is far easier and more efficient than mixing up using a spade.  Barrel is sometimes fixed to a stand, pivoted at the central axis so as to rotate as a wheel.



                  Fig. 3  Turning a barrel.                                Fig.4   Rolling a barrel is much easier.

Without taking the trouble to make a stand and fixing an axle to rotate let us give you a very simple method to rotate the barrel.  After adding some stuff once a week or so just roll the barrel to mix up the contents. This will save money and labour.