Community composting schemes are a great way for neighbourhoods to come together to create a useful local resource and do good for the environment. They’re easy to set up, even easier to use and needn’t cost much. You may even get a little bit of funding too!
A community composting scheme is much like a compost bin in your garden, but bigger, located in a public place and available for local people to use who also are able to use the compost that is produced free of charge.
If you are interested in setting up a Community Compost Scheme in your neighbourhood, here’s how:
Set up an action group
Have a chat with a few neighbours and assemble a core group of two or three enthusiastic volunteers to oversee the scheme’s development. First item on the agenda; pick a pub / bar / café for the first meeting!
Before you get too engrossed, conduct a bit of market research – ask if people would use such a facility, would they use the compost that’s produced? Would they mind making a small financial contribution? If there’s appetite, then press ahead!
Write a constitution
Set out the aims of the scheme, how it will operate, who does what and so on.
Contact your Council
Once the constitution has been agreed, get in touch with the Waste and Recycling Team at your local Borough. They will let you know what you need to consider in terms of planning permission, any licencing and insurances. They may also be able to signpost you to sources of possible funding.
Do the maths!
Although it needn’t cost much to set up a scheme, you will need to spend a bit. Create a list of the things you need and the cost of each. Some things like wheelbarrows and rakes might be donated but things like insurances and permits will need investment. Work out what you need and then you can see where you can get the money; either from residents, grants or both.
Location, location, location
You’ll need to find a suitable site that’s easily accessible by local people. A school, perhaps? A community garden? The Waste and Recycling Team at your local Borough will let you know the sort of sites to avoid.
Set it up
You can now get to work building the site. Make this a community event and you could have it done in a day!
Volunteers need to know what they are doing, why, how, when and where.
Invite local papers, radio stations to a launch event. Get a bunch of residents to bring their garden waste to the first ‘drop off’ of the new scheme.
Keep in touch
‘Sell’ the scheme to the community through regular newsletters and articles in the press. This will not only help to publicise it, but it will help persuade people to use it and keep residents updated on the benefits of the scheme, such as money raised, opportunities for local groups, etc. Such a plan may also help get you some grant funding.
The above is only a rough guide as to what’s involved in setting up a Community Composting Scheme. The best way to find out what’s what is to research other Community Schemes and talk to them about what they did.