There’s a fertile revolution going on at Compost Central, located within Byron’s Industry Estate.
Rich compost is bursting from old bathtubs, soil beds and compost bins. It’s full of microbes and teaming with worms. And dark coloured liquid organic plant food flows from compost bin taps.
But more than that, waste enthusiast Andrew Hayim De Vries is working on an invention he says could be a game changer.
‘Our core vision is for homes, schools and businesses – including resorts and cafes – to compost successfully on location.’
He says that by turning organic food waste into a valuable resource, it can be ‘integrated directly into the process of food production.’
Andrew’s dedicated to the advancement of compost technology and education, but the bigger vision is to complete and submit a patent on a design that would push processed compost into garden beds, via a sub-surface irrigation system buried in the soil.
‘It saves on water, time and adds a high-nutrient fertiliser.
‘And with a timer on the tap to push the liquid waste through the pipes and chambers, there’s almost no maintenance. The result is a garden bed that is constantly being fed high-quality nutrients.
‘We’re nearly there,’ he says of his existing model in the back garden, and adds that there’s some fine-tuning to do and that he’s still looking for investors to help make it happen.
As for the art of compost, Andrew says that cultivating microbes and worms is the key.
‘The black compost bins that councils sell create an environment too hot for microbes and worms to thrive if left in the sun. Essentially the waste becomes rancid.
‘The best solution I have found is putting a wire-mesh cover on the black bin and then a slightly bigger bin – painted white – over that bin.
‘That gives a better temperature and airflow. Another thing worth doing is securing your compost from flies, cockroaches and rats. This gives the waste its best chance to be plant food.’
As for Byron Shire Council’s recently introduced organic waste bin, he agrees it’s necessary, ‘but we should, and can, begin composting our food waste very simply and successfully ourselves at home, in schools and small businesses.’
‘This is a core focus – and I can coach, supply and install for this purpose at a very reasonable cost.’
Andrew’s next workshop is Wednesday November 4, from 6–7pm and Saturday November 7, from 10–11am.
Compost Central is located at 1/22 Brigantine Street, Byron Bay. For more visit www.compostcentral.org or phone 0413 530 559.