Organics processing facility to be expanded

THE existing organics processing facility at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre will be expanded after Lismore City Council received $350,000 from the NSW Government.

Lismore City Council said they would match the funds from the state government to upgrade and expand the centre.

The new facility will be able to process an additional 4600 tonnes of food and garden waste per annum, bringing the total to 14,600 tonnes.

This increased capacity will be achieved through supply from two neighbouring councils and the introduction of a kerbside organics services to 1500 residents in rural villages.

A new technology to process the organics will also be introduced.

This new technology, called a Mobile Aerated Floor, was developed in Germany, and will aerate the compost through a system of pipes underneath the compost piles, reducing the need to turn them.

This will mean the MAF will halve the existing 16-20 week composting process and reduce fuel costs as well as enable more organics to be processed for sale.

Other benefits of the new technology include reduced electricity and water usage.

Council's Waster Operations Coordinator Kevin Trustum said the upgrade and expansion will allow Council to take advantage of the growing market for its compost and mulch products.

"Council has been selling a good quantity of compost and mulch for many years to backyard gardeners and farmers, but since gaining organic certification from Australian Organic in November last year, the demand has increased," Mr Trustum said.

"The certification has enabled farmers and producers across the Northern Rivers to use the compost and mulch for certified organic agriculture. The expansion will allow this market to grow further, which is quite exciting."

Council is also hoping to install a new bagging unit to better meet the needs of urban backyard gardeners. Bagging will allow Council to sell small bags of compost to the many local residents who visit the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre but don't have a trailer or want large quantities.

"We have closed the loop entirely on the local organics system with all food and garden waste collected in the Lismore Local Government Area going back into our farms and gardens," Kevin said.

"We are absolutely leading the field in recycling and organics processing at the moment and we hope to be an example of best practice that other councils in Australia look to and model themselves on. We feel we are really achieving our community's vision of Lismore being a model of sustainability."

The upgrade and expansion is expected to be complete within the next 12 months.

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