Lawn cuttings and old palm fronds are converted into compost by one of Australia’s largest agricultural organizations to reduce their carbon footprint.

Important points:

  • Green waste becomes compost
  • The compost is an alternative to artificial fertilizers
  • The waste incineration plant is located in Bundaberg – one of the largest growing regions in Australia

A new state-of-the-art composting facility in Bundaberg, southeast Queensland, accepts the conversion of garden waste into nutrient-rich compost, which is intended to provide an alternative to chemical fertilizers and help farms reduce nutrient runoff.

Green Solutions Wide Bay was created by Australia’s largest sweet potato producer Greensill Farming to expand the company’s composting program and involve local residents in the environmentally sound management of their green waste.

Green waste from gardens is deposited in the composting facility free of charge.

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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Nathan Freeman is Head of Planning, Infrastructure and Projects at Greensill Farming, which also grows sugar cane and peanuts around Bundaberg.

Protecting soil health while reducing environmental pollution is important to the agricultural organization and worth investing in the futuristic composting facility, said Mr. Freeman.

A man stands in front of a large machine that grinds trees and bushes.Nathan Freeman with the green waste mill. (

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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“We have to deal with this and reduce the amount of fertilizers and synthetic products we use,” he said.

“This is a really natural product that we can punch back into the ground.”

A man walks past large compost heaps.After grinding, the waste is formed into rows of winds for 120 days to be composted. (

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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Making compost from waste

The conversion of green waste into compost takes 120 days.

A man is standing between large piles of compost.Nathan Freeman says the ground up waste kills seeds and weeds as part of a “pasteurization period” of composting.

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The dumped organic material is fed to a large mill that uses scanners and magnets to remove unsuitable material.

Piles of shredded material are broken down and subjected to a “pasteurization phase” where the temperature is between 55 and 65 degrees to kill weeds and seeds while allowing beneficial microbes to grow.

A man stands in front of a strange looking large agricultural machine.Nathan Freeman with the turner tended the compost as it crumbled.

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A robotic-looking turner with retractable legs then patrols the piles turning the compost and water is added to keep the mixture cool throughout the process.

Hands hold soil-like compost.After 120 days, the waste becomes nutrient-rich compost that is used on the area’s farms. (

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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The final part of the process is sifting the compost before it is applied to the farms.

Although the composting facility has only been open to the public for 10 weeks, experiments have shown that the compost has a huge impact on soil health, which means better harvests and longer soil life, according to Freeman.

Hands hold a stick with a white mushroom on it.A white fungus is a positive sign that the compost is rich in beneficial microbes. (

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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“We are already seeing the benefits of the products we are now selling on the farms,” ​​he said.

“It is a good opportunity to turn a former landfill into a usable product that can help maintain our farms.

“We really want to increase our soil biodiversity. Some plants can put some strain on the soil. So if we can help and put this back into operation, it will really help to extend the life of our agricultural activity.”

A large dam surrounded by rocksDams catch runoff from the compost piles to prevent it from entering waterways. (

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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In addition, large sediment dams were built to prevent any drainage of the compost into the waterways in the area.

Security monitors dumping

Trailers full of garden waste and lawn clippings roll past over 30 surveillance cameras installed around the complex while the residents of Bundaberg use the free garbage disposal.

Security gates and cameras in a place that looks like a garbage dump.More than 30 cameras monitor the waste entering the composting complex.

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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There is no human contact in the complex, the cameras record your license plates and if you leave any material that is not vegetable the staff will be notified on your next visit.

Mr. Freeman believes that most people will do the right thing.

“We have invested a lot of time and money in bringing the technology here,” he said.

“We don’t want people to be put off by this technology.

“Everyone is welcome, everyone can come along and deposit their green waste here. You are only not welcome if you bring in pollutants.”

A field of sweet potato plants is irrigated. The compost is used for sweet potatoes, sugar cane, peanuts and other small crops around Bundaberg. (

ABC Wide Bay: Brad Marsellos

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Green Solutions Wide Bay will officially open on Saturday 5th June 2021 after a 10-week soft trial.

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