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'Waste not, want not'

Wednesday 11th May 2011, 7:30-9:30 pm,  Fisher Room, St Mark’s Church, Cold Ash

This evening meeting was a joint venture of the Cold Ash Greening Group and the Horticultural Society.

Keely Gallagher from Veolia gave a presentation on the methods used for large-scale composting of household green waste and also told us about the new facility being built at Padworth for dealing with kitchen waste. She explained how green waste is shredded and stacked in windrows on a concrete base. The moisture content and temperature are monitored carefully and the compost is turned regularly to ensure good aeration - the process takes about six months. The compost produced is available for sale from the Newbury recycling centre.

Soon (before end-2011) Padworth will be able to deal with food waste in anaerobic digesters that operate at high temperatures to ensure that any pathogens are killed.  We will then be given biodegradable bags in which to collect kitchen waste and the bags can be put out for collection with green waste.

Refreshments were served in the interval and the audience had the opportunity to visit the `Love food hate waste’ display. 

Anthony Armitage (West Berkshire Council) described the Bokashi system of composting kitchen waste.  In this system food is added to a sealed bin together with a special bran mixture containing lactic acid bacteria that ferment the mixture to produce a liquid plant food that can be drawn off.  

The evening was rounded off with talks from two well-known members of the Horticultural Society.  Fred Davison showed how wormeries can convert food waste into liquid plant food and compost. They are very easy to operate provided you stick to a few simple rules. Grahame Collins gave a very hands-on demonstration of how to build a compost heap. This was a very amusing but informative contribution that was well-received by the audience. 

Around 45 people were at the meeting. There was lively discussion after each talk and the evening was judged to be very enjoyable, and useful, by all.