Future of composting and recycling in the spotlight at Townsville forum

A recycling and composting forum this week explored innovative solutions to the way compost is used in Smart Cities such as Townsville.

The forum held at James Cook University is organized by the Centre for Organic Research and Education (CORE) in collaboration with Greening Australia.

Stakeholders including James Cook University, cane industry and organic recycling representatives, regional councils and State Government came together to workshop composting practices, projects and opportunities in the region.

TV personality and landscape architect and ABC presenter Costa Georgiadis also took part in the forum.

Participants had a unique opportunity to contribute in a dynamically-styled forum, based on a set of rapid fire presentations from a diverse group of specialists in the areas of agriculture, organics recycling, policy setting, global practices in composting and research as well as environmental concerns and impacts.

Greening Australia Strategic Engagement and Initiatives Manager Jelenko Dragisic said the forum was a fantastic collaboration between organisations.

“Composting can be a sustainable industry with very positive environmental benefits but it’s important we take a strategic approach and work together to find solutions and opportunities,” Mr Dragisic said.

“The region is part of the Great Barrier Reef catchment – a major driver that needs to be incorporated into the future of the industry.”

Centre for Organic Research & Education (CORE) chairman Eric Love said the Smart Cities national agenda was driving major changes in infrastructure, communities and policy.

“This forum is designed to build momentum for a change in how we view organic resources and how we integrate them more effectively in Smart Cities and regional economics.  In this way we are continuing to advance sustainable living among local communities,” he said.

“There are many ways we can do this, for example, compost nurtures our soils, creating productive urban and rural farms and gardens that can ensure we get high quality, sustainable, locally grown food and plants.  In addition to diminishing the need for synthetic chemicals throughout the community, organic systems and technologies such as bio-filtration systems can reduce the impact that harmful chemicals have on our environment.

“Advanced organic bio-filtration systems prevent polluted run-off waters from harming our waterways and could substantially contribute locally to the environmental improvement and protection of the reef. So by smarter use of our community organic resources, we can all enjoy healthy, locally grown food, close the loop on organic waste and enhance our natural environment.”

Rapid fire presentations were done by:

  • Eric Love – Chairman – CORE
  • Costa Georgiadis – Landscape Architect and Presenter – ABC, Gardening Australia
  • Lawrence Di Bella – Manager – HCPSL
  • Neale Griggs – Director – Giru Organics
  • Dr Nathan Waltham – Researcher – JCU
  • Peter Kearny Director – City Food Growers/ My Food Garden
  • Dr Niall Connolly – Program Manager – Reef Aid: Coastal Wetlands Program – Greening Australia
  • Glenn Dale – Verterra
  • Scott Fry – Senior Project Officer – NQDT
  • Chris Manning – Townsville City Council
  • Johannes Biala – Director – Centre for Recycling of Organic Waste and Nutrients, UQ