Recycling trial targets organic waste on Karragarra Island

A community-based food organics recycling scheme will be trialled on Karragarra Island.

The research project is a collaboration between Redland City Council, The University of Queensland’s Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste and Nutrients (CROWN) and three island-based community groups.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Council and the island communities were interested in developing practical and economical ways to manage and use organic garden and food residues.

“Garden and food organics account for about half of domestic waste collected from kerbside waste bins by Council each year,” she said.

“In a move to divert some of this waste from landfill, Council currently offers island residents and businesses the option of taking garden organics and vegetation residues to the recycling and waste centres.

“Last year about 7321 tonnes of organic material was collected from Redlands Coast islands, including about 235 tonnes from Karragarra, and was shipped to the mainland for composting and other uses, at considerable cost to Council.”

Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said Council was aiming for the islands to become circular economies, with more waste retained for beneficial use on the islands, and the organics trial was a good example of what was achievable.

“Participating residents will take their garden waste to Karragarra Community Garden, where it will be composted and used to grow fruit and vegetables,” he said.

“Running Wild Youth Conservation Culture and Southern Moreton Bay Islands Permaculture are also involved in the research project.

“We hope to deliver a model for a successful community-based recycling scheme for garden and food waste which can be transferred and adapted for other Moreton Bay islands and community groups further afield.”

CROWN Director Johannes Biala said the trial was a fantastic opportunity to assess the extent to which a community-based organics recycling scheme could reduce landfilling of organic waste, and instead compost and use it on the island.

“There is often some apprehension about composting food waste, but we will develop and test a small-scale, solar-powered, forced aeration composting system that is adequate and inexpensive for processing food residues in community-based organics recycling schemes,” Mr Biala said.

“What makes this project very different from many others is the incredible enthusiasm and support from council and the community groups for what we have set out to do.

“This gives great hopes that the Karragarra Island community organics recycling scheme will continue to thrive and be a model for other communities long after the project has been completed.”

Residents are being surveyed about what they currently do with their garden and food waste, and their preferences regarding the operation of a future community food waste capture and composting scheme.

The composting system is expected to be built and operational by March 2021 and the project will end in July 2021.

The project is funded through a Goodman Foundation Moreton Bay (Quandamooka) Research Grant.