The Compost Revolution started, like all good journeys, with a burning question that needed to be answered. Could the small scale, face-to-face workshops, teaching enthusiastic greenies and gardeners the basics of home composting and worm farming, be scaled up to meet the huge challenge of food waste in our communities?
Initially a community-based initiative of the 3 eastern suburbs councils (Randwick, Waverley and Woollahra), and funded by the NSW Environment Trust, the team set to work to find out. As the founder of Australia's first purpose-driven design agency (Digital Eskimo/Future Friendly) I jumped at the chance to work on the pilot of a new platform to take the training online. While the platforms and it tutorials were simple, due to budget and time constraints, they were a huge success. A study conducted almost a year after the program had completed showed 94% retention rate of participants!
At that point I knew we needed to scale up the initiative even further across the country, so we approached the team at Randwick Council with a moonshot idea. What if we set up a social venture and took the revolution national?! They agreed it was a great way to leverage the potential, while maximising the investment to date. We embarked on a ground-breaking partnership that has proven the potential for local government supported social ventures to drive innovation and accelerate impact.
Fast forward another 8 years to today, two major platform upgrades, 64 brave council partners and countless hours of love, sweat and tears from my team at Future Friendly and Revolution Apps later, and we've recruited nearly 62,000 households nation-wide (over 14,000 within the original 3 council area), and diverted over 16,000 tonnes of waste, adding another 72 tonnes every week!
And we're just getting started. If every Australian household take responsibility for their food waste, and diverted it into nurturing their gardens and their families it would be nothing short of transformational. Even if only half of the households in the country took up home composting (our current target) we’d reduce our national carbon emissions by at least 1%! That’s a huge contribution for something most of us can do easily.
While we have spread our wings recruiting households across Australia, our home will always be the eastern suburbs of Sydney, where it all began. It’s testament to the innovative nature of the teams at Waverley, Randwick and Woollahra councils that they continue to lead the country in terms of uptake and ongoing ambition, offering up to 80 % off + free delivery to residents.
We recently started offering the Farm, our home-grown award winning worm farm, and the easy-turn Eco Tumbler into the discounted product range on offer – so that residents now have a variety of options and can choose a system that best suits their needs.
We want to make sure every household in Australia has the opportunity to capture the nutrients from their food and feed it into their gardens. The benefits to our ecosystems are enormous – our native flora and fauna need us to re-wild our gardens and verges. The great thing is, nurturing the soil also nurtures us! Recent studies have proven the mental health and physical well being benefits of gardening.
To celebrate the 10th birthday of the program the 3 Councils are offering $10 off as an additional discount on the already great deals. So get on over if you live in those areas and grab a life changing bargain!
Waverley Council Media release
Finally .... A special thank you to all the people that made the revolution what it is today. Revolutionaries; (present) Simon Meers, Alex King, Ishka Bless, (and past) Justin Bonsey, Sasha, Andia and a host of collaborators and conspirators inc the indomitable Costa Georgiadis, Cyn Colli, Dawn Uchida, Jonathon Marsh, Justin Restuccia, Stefan Lie, Andrea Dell, Ronen & the Team at Maze, Lynette & the team at Urban Composter + original partner council team members Peter Maganov and Richard Wilson (Randwick Council), current Commander in Chief of the 3 Councils program JP Williamson (Waverley Council), my team at Digital Eskimo/Future Friendly who designed and built the early versions of the platform (Yvonne, Stephanie, Susan, Fitz, Ben, Chris, Anika et al) and of course the 62,000 households who have joined this movement – and, last but by no means least, the many many council officers across Australia who have driven this forward over the past 10 years .... this really is your grass roots revolution!