The Hastings District Council has been the site of a worm infestation as of late. But don’t worry, it’s supposed to be. Four years ago the council started a worm farm to reduce the amount of food scraps thrown away from its office buildings and to date, it says four tonnes of food waste (including coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit and vegetable scraps and other food waste such as sandwiches) has been turned into garden fertiliser.
In 2006 40 percent of waste from council office buildings was food scraps. Now, with what the council describes as a “comprehensive recycling system”, it’s been reduced to 16 percent.
Council waste minimisation planner Angela Atkins comments on the process.
“The worms eat the food waste and produce vermicast and worm tea, which has high levels of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium compared to ordinary soil. This makes them valuable for plants' leaf growth, root and stem strength and flower and fruit set.‟
The worm farm initiative is part of the council’s Ten Year Plan that has sustainable development at its centre, which it says will be achieved by taking a longer-term view in the council’s planning and decision-making. The plan outlines 32 specific strategic objectives and a range of related actions in each of these area.
And, should you feel inclined to dabble in a spot of worm farming yourself, the council website offers a step by step guide.