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14/09/2022 12:00pm

Paeroa Central School is aiming for zero food scraps to landfill now they have their own worm farm, donated by Hauraki District Council.

Mayor Toby Adams said that after hearing in the No Time to Waste | Tiakina a Papa Mimiti te Para community engagement last year that schools were really keen to get involved with worm farming as a way to deal with their food scraps, Council got stuck in looking for ways to fund more of them.

It's a win-win for the school and environment

Council takes the bonus points received from purchasing Parks and Reserves supplies, and uses them to buy worm farm bins to donate to local schools. Council’s Waste Manager then uses funds from the Waste Levy to purchase the worms and education sessions for the schools from Zero Waste Education, making it a win-win for the schools and the environment.

“Inspiring our youth to look after Pāpatūanuku is priceless and it’s clear that our district is right behind these reuse, reduce and recycle initiatives after we received a big tick from our contractor congratulating the communities on their soft plastics recycling results! Since we introduced our collection bins in March 2022, over 1880kgs or 1.88 tonnes of soft plastic has been diverted from landfill to go to FuturePost to make fence posts instead – what a great effort”, said Mayor Adams.

Surprising things tiger worms eat

“Our waste audit showed that close to 50 percent of what goes to landfill is food scraps and we wanted to help change that. And it’s not just food scraps that the worms love, they also eat the hair that gets stuck in your hairbrush and if you have pet rabbits or guinea pigs, the worms eat herbivore pooh too!’, he added.

Students were surprised to learn that although there are 194 worm species in NZ, it’s Tiger worms from Europe that are used in the worm farm because they are excellent eaters and reproduce quickly. They also learnt that worm farm bins need to be kept cool in the shade, but compost needs to be in a hot spot in the garden.

Lenny from Zero Waste Education was on hand all week to work with the students and she found Paeroa Central School students so engaged and interested in learning about reducing rubbish and food waste to landfill.

“What a wonderful week it’s been – so much enthusiasm and participation from the students and teachers”, she said.

“We couldn’t ask for a better outcome”, said Mayor Adams.

Food scraps kerbside collection will start in September 2023

In September 2023, Council will introduce a kerbside food scraps collection as part of the No time to Waste | Tiakina a Papa Mimiti te Para strategy to reduce by 100 percent, organic waste, including food scraps, to landfill by June 2027.

Students helped to put the Tiger worms in the worm farm

Paeroa Central School students get stuck in