Home and Community Composting
(Terra à Terra)
WHEN: Implemented in 2007- present (ongoing)
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Recycling: Reuse – Reprocessing; Prevention: Replacement – Reduction
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Education, information, awareness raising; Voluntary /promotional
WASTE STREAMS: Municipal waste, Organic residues (garden waste), Agricultural waste, Food and organic waste
About: Terra à Terra is a project that promotes home composting to collective buildings, houses and public or private institution’s, for organic waste reduction, on Lipor’s Municipalities. Lipor’s associated Municipalities (Espinho, Gondomar, Maia, Matosinhos, Porto, Póvoa de Varzim, Valongo and Vila do Conde), contribute with approximately 500,000 tons/year of municipal waste that needs to be collected, transported, treated and disposed. The whole process means significant economic and environmental costs.
About 40% of waste produced is bio-waste, which can be recovered through home or community composting, an activity which is easy to implemented at home and which has other advantages, such as physical activity, contact with nature, soil improvement and a better environment. This project aims to promote a reduction in centralized collection and treatment of organic waste within Lipor’s area of intervention, thus reducing the environmental impact of the process and improving the quality of life of the population it serves.
Lipor helps developing a composting site in residential area, providing compost bin (to all houses that have a garden inside the 8 municipalities already mentioned) and the opportunity to learn about composting, participating to the composting workshops. Home and community composting is estimated to allow an organic waste reduction of about 423,3 Kg/year per composter. Therefore, with 13.905 composters implemented is possible to achieve a reduction of 5886 tons/year. Biodegradable waste diversion from energy recovery into composting will avoid the emission of more than 1237,07 ton CO2e per year.
The purchase of the composting bins was co-financed, bought by Lipor and currently they are being financed. Project coordination including the administration, develop-ment of awareness campaigns, composting courses and monitoring is made by Lipor and its engineers and technicians. For this kind of project, it is important to have between 3 or 5 persons. Home and Community Composting project began in 2007 in a pilot area and in the following year has started the implementation in Lipor Municipalities with a 2-3 hours mandatory hands-on composting course in order to receive the composting bin. With the support of Miniwaste (European project cofinanced by the program LIFE+.), between 2010 and 2012, the project achieved a great development.
By locally promoting workshops on composting, the population is encouraged to start the process at houses, institutions, companies or schools. After the workshop, if the citizen has a place to install a compost bin, he/she will be offered the opportunity to participate on Terra à Terra project and receive a compost bin totally free of charge, plus the possibility of receiving remote or local support, if any problem occur.
When the participant does not have his own space for placing the compost bin, community composting is implemented. Community composting works by placing a compost bin on a public area/garden or on common gardens (for example: apartment buildings). A person is nominated the „composting master” and he/she has the responsibility for controlling the compost process, the community places the bio-waste buckets near the compost bin.
Implementing home or community composting, especially at the urban areas of Lipor’s Municipalities, is a challenge, considering that this behaviour is not yet very common for the population that live in these areas. Lipor had to promote awareness campaigns to show to the population the advantages of home composting, in order to increase the distributed composting bins and to evaluate the impacts in the quantity of waste received in Lipor Incineration Plant. By advertising the project they are spreading the concept of home composting and although people don’t have the conditions to register the project they are informed about home composting impacts in the municipal solid waste management and its consequences for the environment.
Terra à Terra aimed on promoting home composting at collective buildings, houses and in public or private institution’s, in Lipor’s associated Municipalities (Espinho, Gondomar, Maia, Matosinhos, Porto, Póvoa de Varzim, Valongo and Vila do Conde). These municipalities contribute with approximately 500,000 tons/year of municipal waste that needs to be collected, transported, treated and disposed, while 40% of waste produced is bio-waste, which can be recovered through home or community composting. This project promotes a reduction in centralized collection and treatment of organic waste within Lipor’s area of intervention, thus reducing the environmental impact of the process and improving the quality of life of the population it serves.
Lipor helped developing a composting site in residential area, providing compost bins (to all houses that have a garden inside the 8 municipalities already mentioned) and the opportunity to learn about composting, participating to the composting workshops.
Collected waste/environmental improvement:
• 13 905 distributed composting bins (It is implemented at least 1 composting bin per household/institution)
• 75 community composting sites
• 4 020 monitoring and support visits to composting sites and households of the kitchen waste bucket. In 2014 Lipor started an online survey to have more infor-mation about the kitchen waste bucket. With this methodology it is possible esti-mate the bio-waste reduction per each compost bin: 423,3 kg/year/compost bin
• a bio-waste potential reduction of about 5 886 tons/year
• prevention of 1 237,07 ton CO2/year.
The produced compost is used in gardens and urban farming.
Also the project contributes in raising citizen awareness on waste prevention, bio-waste disposal, composting solutions, etc. The system improves energy efficiency, material cycling, waste management and infrastructure in urban environments. It also helps in reducing greenhouse gases, air pollution in cities. The system also improves material cycling, being applicable for food waste only.
The practice considers tools related to urban metabolism oriented to organic waste. Aspects such as material flows analysis were analyzed during the project. The project contributes in reducing the quantity of organic waste in mixed waste that is sent to Lipor’s waste to energy plant. This helps reducing the level of contamination of recyclable materials and in consequence ease dematerialization.
Once implemented, such a project could help in increasing sustainability of the municipal collection system by promoting a reduction of organic waste in city centralized collection.
The project is easily replicable, there is no need for advanced technology or high amounts of resources. Main criteria for replicability: the municipalities must be engaged in implementing the practice, the compost bins should be bought (by the sanitation company, municipality or citizen), while population should be properly informed about the project/educated.
• Developing a home composting site, giving a compost bin (to all houses that have a garden from the 8 municipalities already mentioned)
• Giving citizens the opportunity to learn more about the subject through the participation on composting workshops.
• Supporting the citizens, entities, schools during the implementation of the process and after