Saturday, 9 July 2016

2nd anniversary!

So after 2 years of collecting local kitchen waste for compost I thought it would be encouraging to show the results of our labours !
The top photo is a raised bed at the youth centre garden after an application of louth community compost , 5 weeks later the bottom photo shows how much the brassica seedlings appreciated it :)
9th May

16th June at the same bed

Up to June 2016 we've composted almost 6 tonnes of kitchen and garden waste and produced somewhere over 3 tonnes of composter, more than we need for the community gardens so the surplus will be distributed (hopefully sold:)) this space for a special offer that will help households reduce their carbon footprint and grow delicious fresh salad leaves....

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Information evening 23rd July 7pm

Do you hate to see waste ?
Do you have some spare time to invest in your community?
Do you want to help create a valuable natural resource?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, then you need to know more about Louth Community Compost . We're looking for local residents to volunteer a few hours of their time to support an exciting new project that aims to recycle the uncooked kitchen waste within Louth.
A pilot scheme has been running for 12 months in the Park Ave/Abbey Rd district and the outcome has been:
     ·         Over 1500kg of kitchen waste collected.
     ·         600 individual household collections.
     ·         Numerous doorstep conversations with householders.
     ·         Over a tonne of finished compost to feed and restore local soils.
     ·         Over 150 hours of purposeful activity for local volunteers.
The second phase of the project is now being planned but this requires additional resources ,
We need volunteers to help with the administration and the operation of the project.
If you’d like to know more about what’s involved then why not come along to an information session at Louth Youth Centre, Park Ave, Louth on Thursday 23rd July between 7.00pm-8.30pm alternatively phone James on 07939205346 for more details.

Annual update!

It's been just over a year since Louth Community Compost began collecting organic waste from local residents so thought it time to issue an update on how things are going.
Firstly the compost "cube" is working :) though I've added extra air ventilation to the sides and learnt to keep the mix of waste "drier". Initially I was adding cardboard as a "brown balance" for all the vegetable trimmings, but it was time consuming to shred and didn't seem to soak up enough of the moisture to stop the compost going anaerobic (compacted and smelly!). So I started to collect more dry carbon rich waste at the back end of 2014, from wherever I saw it dying back. It was surprisingly easy to shred and store this material and it add to the nitrogen rich waste I was collecting. By adding just under the equivalent volume of "brown" to "green" waste I seemed to hit on a happy mix that kept the temperature up and reduce moisture content.

In an effort to maintain a ready supply of dry carbon I recently found a useful local source that will hopefully keep me going through the year :)

The photo shows a raised bed at the Gatherums in Louth benefitting from a liberal dose of locally generated compost. I managed to sift out about 80 kg of finer compost from the initial heap in April 2015, approx. 8 months after accumulation.

I made this trommel to help get the larger particles out before a final sieve.

and the trike got an extra front wheel!                                          This Noomad conversion has increased the load carrying options and also improved the handling and braking efficiency of the trike.
Got some nice banners for the trailer too :)

You can see from the collection data here that the number of households and quantities of waste have increased from 2014. There are 21 households on the route now and we're collecting approx. 40kg per week.

I've also started composting green waste that accumulates at Louth Cemetery in conjunction with Louth Town Council. I'm hoping that in the near future there can be another residential collection round in that area of the Town.
Here's my son Jack helping on the collection you fancy helping out too? I'm seeking out local composters to help expand the project.
Please get in touch if you can help with ideas or brawn ..or both ! :)

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

In the beginning

Community Composting was an idea that came up from the "The Power of just doing Stuff",a Transition Town meeting held in Horncastle in June 2013. Our local council had recently withdrawn the recycling of kitchen vegetable waste from households, encouraging householders to home compost or dispose of the waste in the non recyclable bin. Preventing this vital natural resource from being "wasted" was the primary aim of the Louth Community Compost project.

To get started I attended a community composting course run by the excellent Community Composting Network held over three Saturdays in November 2013. The course was a rare, opportunity to learn about community composting within our region and was held at the impressive Arkwright Meadows community garden in the centre of Nottingham.

The person in the centre in pink is Karen Fry who did a great job of passing on the "knowledge".
To find out what Karen's doing now go here The gardening lady .

So armed with a basic composting qualification, the generous support of the 13+ project for the use of the Louth Youth Centre and with financial donations from Transition Town Louth and East Lindsey District Council (courtesy of Cllr Mike Preen) I decided to put some ideas into practice.

The first idea was to convert a 1000 litre agricultural water tank into a composting container. To keep the space needed on site to a minimum, it's essential to utilise "hot" composting. This means maintaining the compost heap at optimum temperatures for bacteria to rapidly break down the organic waste. The water tanks are free standing, long lasting structures that allow any liquid residue to be collected via a base tap.
They are easy to move around (when empty) and are tidier than the conventional wooden framed compost bin. The hope was that they would also deter vermin which was one of the first concerns of the near neighbours. The idea had definite advantages but would there be enough air circulating to ensure optimum composting? There was only one way to find out!

I cut out the top of the tank with a jig saw and ran a weather strip seal around the edge, which allowed the lid to sit back on the tank without falling through the hole I'd created. I then cut a rectangle porthole in the side of the tank to allow access for removal of the composted waste.
When in use the porthole panel is refitted and secured with pegs
I created a raised floor in the tank with a steel sheet drilled with a number of holes to encourage air flow and allow liquid to drain away from the compost.

I used some of the funding to purchase used equipment from the  Community Compost Network, this included a Bosch Electric impact shredder which would increase the surface area of the green waste and accelerate the composting process.

The second idea was to ensure a low carbon collection service by using my electric trike to tow a small trailer capable of pulling up to 150kg of organic waste.

So on the 12th June 2014 after canvassing local residents, I began the first LoCoCo collection.

Click here to discover how the 2014 collections went :)