The organic materials included in the WRAPP are confined to vegetation materials (i.e. garden and wood wastes but not food wastes).
'Organic waste' covers a wide range of materials including:
- garden wastes (grass, leaves, tree loppings etc.)
- wood wastes (sawdust, shavings, offcuts, pallets etc).
- food wastes (fruit, vegetable, cereal, animal carcasses, fat etc.)
Agencies only need to report on garden organic waste in their WRAPP reports. While agencies are not required to report food and other organic wastes, they are still encouraged to implement measures to reduce the amount of this waste going to landfill, through processes such as composting and worm farming.
Landscaping materials purchased include organic products such as mulch, compost, bark, wood chips and soil blends.
Organics form a significant part of the NSW waste stream, comprising about 30 per cent of all waste sent to landfill. The total amount of organic waste (garden, food, wood/timber, biosolids, agricultural) received by NSW reprocessing facilities increased from 1.34 million tonnes in 2003-04 to 1.41 million tonnes in 2004-05 while the proportion of garden organics collected for recycling increased from 40 per cent in 1998 to 56 per cent in 2004-05 in Greater Sydney (Sydney, Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra).
In 2004-05, more than 480,000 tonnes a year of garden waste was diverted from landfill via composting operations in the Greater Sydney region (Sydney, Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra). Recycling organic based materials can make a big contribution to the environment. For example, composting 770,000 tonnes of garden, food and wood waste instead of landfilling them avoids almost one million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (for more information see the NSW Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2007).
Calling these materials 'waste' is misleading. Biological waste processing technologies such as composting, land applications, digestion and fermentation can now turn many previously unusable organic materials into valuable resources. Compost can be used in agricultural, land rehabilitation, landscaping and domestic applications.
- Many soil products are excavated from river beds and alluvial flats. This is an unsustainable practice. Investigate purchasing manufactured soils with a recycled organic content.
- Survey what types of synthetic versus organic landscaping materials your organisation uses.
- Research how different types of organic materials can be used. In particular, investigate cost savings associated with not buying synthetic materials.
- Avoid buying new products. Your organisation may be generating vegetation wastes that could be processed and reused.
- Ask your supplier if they stock recycled organic products.
- Substitute synthetic landscaping and agricultural products with recycled organic products where you can.
- Ensure that recycled organic products you buy meet the Australian Standard such as AS4454 (1999) for composts, soil conditioners and mulches and AS3743 (1996) for potting mixes
More about buying the WRAPP way >>
- Use compost and mulch where possible to reduce dependence on chemical fertilisers and herbicides.
- Use recycled organic products where soil revitalisation, erosion control and water conservation is needed. Use an Australian Standard mulch or compost to avoid introducing weeds and pests (See Organics recycling and processing for compost producers for more information on relevant Standards).
- Use recycled organic products in landscaping applications, parks and playgrounds, roadway landscaping and erosion control projects.
- Apply mulches to a depth of 75 to 100mm on the soil surface for the most effective results. Top up every six to twelve months.
- Carefully follow manufacturer's instructions for each compost product with respect to the nutritional content and any need for additional fertilisers.
- Use selective pruning to reduce green waste generation.
- Install low maintenance gardens with natives or species that require little water.
More about using the WRAPP way >>
- Use an audit or survey of the types, quantities and sources of vegetation and green waste that your agency generates to identify opportunities to recover valuable resources.
- Develop or fine-tune your recycling system to maximise recovery of potential resources. Consider how different systems could be used or combined, such as:
- Source-separation: Collect waste and separate it at the point of generation
- Post-collection separation: Wastes are separated at a collection or transfer station
- Mixed waste separation: Where the whole waste stream is composted and contaminants such as plastic screened out.
- Ensure that vegetation waste streams are free of contaminants such as plastic, foam, metal and glass.
- Identify and eliminate any sources of harmful chemicals (e.g. heavy metals) that may contaminate waste and make any processed product unusable. Sources include spills, stormwater run-off, contaminated soil and sewage sludge and treated wood.
- Ensure building or maintenance contractors are aware of your recovery program and use it. If possible, mandate its use into their contract.
- Sort vegetation clippings and pruning into reusable items (garden stakes, sleepers etc.) and chippable items for mulching.
- Consider using/hiring a chipper for processing bulky vegetation.
- Leave grass clippings on the ground to naturally decompose.
More about recovering the WRAPP way >>
- Research and understand compost or mulch processing systems.
- Investigate the use of vegetation and green waste processing technologies such as composting, digestion and fermentation in your organisation.
- Seek professional assistance to assist you to set up your processing system.
- Refer to Australian Standards for recycled organic products including composts, soil conditioners and mulches, general and specialist potting mixes.
- To improve the quality of recycled organic products, ensure that product standards are being met.
More about remaking the WRAPP way >>
Page last updated: 27 February 2011