Home' Grower : July 2010 Contents The South Australian Grower -- July 2010
Waste not, want not
with Biobin organics
A practical ecologically and economically-sustainable development in action diverts organic
materials from landfill, avoiding the use of mined top soils and reducing the need for
SEVERAL years ago, I wrote a story on the Biobin
system that was being installed around South
Australia to store and break down organic waste.
I thought it would be interesting to follow this up
and see how it was going while having a general
look at the compost industry.
I contacted managing director of Biobin
Technologies and Peats Soil and Garden Supplies
Peter Wadewitz. He was very patient, taking me to
visit the company's plants and attempting to answer
all of my probing questions.
Now those of you who read this column on a
regular basis know I am almost a fanatic when it
comes to preserving and improving the structure and
productivity of our soils.
As the world population increases, good soils and
the availability of potable water are the two major
factors that will ensure our survival.
We also owe it to our children to preserve these
soils for future generations.
I am rather surprised how the compost industry
has developed over the years and how well the
participating companies are working together to
recycle all forms of organic matter.
They say the recycled organics industry is seeking
to build profitable businesses while actively
contributing to society by reducing its impact on the
This is a practical ecologically and economically-
sustainable development in action: diverting organic
materials from landfill, avoiding the use of mined top
soils, reducing the need for chemical fertilisers,
storing carbon in soils, reducing the demand for
irrigation water, increasing yield and building
attractive urban landscapes.
That is what the industry says it is accomplishing --
a big list. Having seen the results, I believe every one
of the claims. I had tended to think of this industry
as one that carted pine bark, hammer milled it and
added soil to make gardens and potted plants look
good. But I believe it has grown like 'popsy' and is
leading the world with new cutting-edge technology
and product development.
SA is a world model for innovative waste
management solutions and a leader in environmental
reform across the nation through its container
In 2004-05, 71 per cent of domestic,
commercial/industrial and construction/demolition
waste was diverted from landfill to recycling.
Australia has only achieved 46pc, which is quite
remarkable. In the 2004-05 period, 600,000 tonnes of
organic waste was processed into a range of
commercial landscape and horticultural products in SA.
Peats has been in the business for more than 40
years years. It processes about 100,000t of waste
every years into 30 different products in bulk and
bags. It sources material from all corners of the State.
The Biobins source waste from shopping centres,
food outlets, chicken farms and many other producers
of organic waste. The timber industry is also an
important source, along with the demolition industry.
I witnessed thousands of pallets being
crushed by a machine that removes nails and
any other impurities.
The materials are selected and combined for
various product requirements and then
windrowed. In the windrows, a form of microbial
heating takes place and the temperature in the
material runs up to 55C degrees to 60C.
This helps break down the ingredients and
eliminate any harmful fungi or plant diseases.
The rows are monitored and turned from time
to time until a suitable product conversion is
achieved. Peats is constantly working with
research bodies to improve its products and
decrease the composting time by monitoring
moisture and air infusion.
The industry growth has required the
development of two new plants, at Dublin and
Brinkley. The Brinkley plant is well laid out with
future development in mind and even has its
own desalinisation plant.
Peats developed the Biobin system and has
sold it throughout Australia. Its export business
is growing every day.
The take home message is that we are
starting to realise these waste materials are a
valuable means of increasing and improving
agricultural and horticultural production while
improving our soils.
They are of no value when used as landfill. I
would urge all farmers to seriously consider the
addition of these systems in their farming
All of the trial work has been done in
agriculture and horticulture. Take five minutes
and give Peter Wadewitz a ring on 08 8556
5295 and I am sure he will convince you.
If doesn't, ring me. There is an opportunity to
take a poor Mallee farm, add these materials,
build up the soil and grow better yields on less
ground. This, of course, applies to any crop.
If I find eggs in my pot plants I will know
where they came from!
Contact me on 0419 591 894 or
with WALLY SPARROW
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