The City of Cape Town is conducting a year long study into the feasibility of home-composting on a large scale across the city. Composting is one way in which households can contribute towards waste minimisation, as currently 6 percent of garden and organic waste from households (amounting to 95 000 tons per year) is sent to the City’s landfills. This amounts to an approximate average of 11kg per household per month of garden/organic waste, as well as 10kg per household per month of organic kitchen waste which is directed to landfills when it could be re-used.
Through phase two, 700 households in Scottsville, Bongweni (Khayelitsha), Edgemead and Heathfield will receive home-composting containers as part of a study. During this year, the City will monitor the findings of the study to assess whether home-composting on a large scale across the city is feasible. The project is being carried out by an independent contractor, Keep the Dream 285, in partnership with the City.
Each participating household has been provided with the necessary information on how to use the containers. They have agreed to provide the City with monthly feedback on the progress of their composting efforts, with data recorded in notebooks that were issued to them. The City-appointed contractor will be available for guidance along the way.
“Residents are free to use the compost for the enrichment of their garden soil. Maintaining a garden can be costly and home-composting is a self-sustaining investment. Furthermore, rich and healthy soil is required for the cultivation of vegetable gardens, which save residents even more money in the long term,” says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Utility Services, Councillor Ernest Sonnenberg.
Participants from Bongweni will also be given the opportunity to attend workshops, where they will be coached on gardening, cultivation of food gardens and maintenance – optimising the benefits of composting.
“It is important to note that residents do not need to be part of the Home Composting Research Project to benefit from this practice. Residents who are not part of the study and would like to take the initiative to begin their own home-composting system are strongly encouraged to do so. They can use a suitable container they have at home, or purchase a container specifically designed for home-composting from garden centres, nurseries or hardware stores,” says Councillor Sonnenberg.
The benefits of composting include compost’s ability to help regenerate poor soils, avoiding additional waste being sent to landfill, minimising the production of methane gas, as well as having economic and environmental benefits as using compost can reduce the need for water, fertilizers, and pesticides.