The Hills Shire Council runs a first of its kind worm farm in Australia

Written by on 15 March 2021

The Hills Shire Council is running a worm farm trial in an apartment complex in North Kellyville.

The ‘skip bin-sized’ worm farm is located in a carpark – just beneath the complex – and houses roughly 120,000 (30kg of) worms, which will produce both worm castings and worm tea for the building to use in their shared garden plots and on their balcony verandas.

The worm farm, supplied by Worms Downunder, is the first of its kind to be trialled in a residential apartment complex by any Council in Australia. Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Michelle Byrne said the trial will look at how residents living in apartments can reduce food waste from their red lidded bins. “A worm farm is fairly low maintenance, and it’s a great way to process food waste,” Mayor Byrne said.

“Worm tea and castings is highly regarded as a powerful natural fertiliser for plants. “I thank all those who have volunteered in this trial. I can’t wait to see the outcome,” Mayor Byrne added. Councillor Robyn Preston who has been involved with this trial said that a worm farm is a great way to recycle a community’s food scraps into a rich fertiliser.

“Apartments bring a massive increase in population and with that comes an increase in the food waste created by apartment occupants. Council is thinking creatively to find ways to manage this waste and recycling food scraps onsite has been something I have been advocating for,” Clr Preston said.

“I’m impressed with the commitment that residents have shown as they participate in the trial. I would like to see residents from other apartments adopting this recycling program if this trial is successful,” she added.  

Marie Akkary has been selected to be a “building champion”. She will be leading the 20 participating apartments to success and educating the remaining non-participating apartments about the project.  “Firstly, I am very honoured The Hills Shire Council selected our apartment complex. The Council’s enthusiasm and passion for this project has been inspiring,” Ms Akkary said.  

“I grew up watching my grandparents recycling their food scraps and using it as fertiliser in their lush vegetable garden. I feel overtime, many people have stopped recycling food scraps due to a number of reasons, including leading busy lives. This trial lets us re-introduce this practice and allows us to teach our next generation these life skills, which is really awesome. I look forward to working with my neighbours for a more sustainable and better future for all,” Ms Akkary added.

The results of the trial will inform Council on food scrap separation behaviours and will allow for further discussions to take place on the potential of collecting food waste separately from apartment complexes in the future.

Residents of The Hills Shire can also have their very own individual worm farm. Council has teamed up with the NSW EPA and Compost Revolution to offer residents a 50% discount and free delivery on compost bins, worm farms and bokashi bins. They are great for recycling organic scraps and cutting your rubbish in half.  

For further details, visit The Hills Shire Council website, and type in ‘Composting & Worm Farming’ in the search bar. 

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