Guest Blog – Managing Waste Resources in a Small Living Area

Guest blog by Del Robson.

Living in high-density accommodation presents challenges when managing waste resources. Many people are comfortable to use the recycling options, in the form of waste bins, provided by their local Council. The most efficient way to manage these bins is to separate out items as they become waste.

Collect paper, bottles and cans (including used aerosol cans) and place into the bin with the YELLOW lid. Any aluminium foil can also be recycled. Check the code on the base of plastic items, any triangular emblem that includes the numbers 1,2,3,4 or 5 is recyclable. Always make sure that any containers are cleaned before disposal. This prevents smelly rubbish and subsequent smelly bins.

Food scraps should be kept away from general waste so that they do not end up as land fill. Some councils provide both a small bin and compostable bags. Don’t overfill the bags. Because the bags are made from cornflour, they will begin to stretch and break if they hold heavy, watery scraps. Put all these bags, together with waste vegetable matter into the bin with the GREEN lid.

General waste includes the lids of all the containers already recycled, along with non-paper packets, dust from the vacuum cleaner, plastic wrap, disposable plastic-ware and general packaging from fresh food purchases. These all end up in the bin with the RED lid. Once you have separated out the different waste items, you should notice a large drop in the amount of your general waste.

Mini gardens

polystyrene box garden attribute Aqua-Marina

Polystrene Garden. Photo by Aqua-Marina (Creative Commons Licence)

Notwithstanding the lack of growing space outside a dwelling, some people prefer to have some fresh produce to pick from time to time. The ‘polystyrene garden’ is appropriate for them. Such boxes, usually discarded by greengrocers and produce stores, are available free of charge. Boxes with holes in the bottom are excellent to grow a large variety of foods. If possible, find a larger box without holes, into which the holed box will fit. Place layers of newspaper between the boxes to hold moisture. Fill the holed box with a growing medium (eg. potting mix or composted vegetable matter) and plant seeds of broccoli, beetroot, carrot (if the box is deep), lettuce, rocket, cucumber, tomato, etc. Tomatoes will need to be transferred to a large pot before fruiting will occur.
Each plant requires a large amount of water to produce its crop. Beans and peas will need some support for growing plants. Limit the number of plants per box based on the size of the fruit to be cropped. One box would easily produce half a dozen lettuce, 8–10 beetroot, 20–30 carrots, and so on. A single person would need only one tomato plant, one or two cucumber plants, a few bean and pea plants to keep them in fresh vegetables much of a season.

Vegetable waste

If growing your own food appeals to you, then you also need a way to re-use waste vegetable matter. The most practical method for people with limited space is the worm farm. This consists of three boxes placed on top of each other. The bottom box, usually on a stand of some sort, holds the watery excrement of the worms and this can be tapped for liquid fertilizer. The two upper boxes have holes to allow the movement of the worms between layers as they feed on the food scraps and waste plant material. Waste meat, bones, citrus and onion peels should not be included as they attract unwanted pests, and are bad for the worms. Of course, once the matter has decomposed, it can be used in the growing medium of the next growing box.

Why grow food?

With the cost of food increasing all the time and more leisure time becoming available, especially in retirement, growing your own food becomes more attractive. For single people, the purchase of fresh food can lead to waste as it cannot be consumed within the ‘fresh’ time period. So the prospect of being able to pick just what you need from your own growing area has a distinct appeal.

The cost of watering the plants need not be excessive if you look at how much water you waste around your house. Do you let the cool water from the hot water tap run down the drain before collecting the hot water? If all this water was to be collected in a bucket it could be used to water the plants growing in your boxes.

Del Robson, Bonny Hills CWA

plants in potts garden herbs PD

Regional investment must be prioritised

It’s a bit over a week and the dust has settled on what we are being told is a record-breaking budget for NSW. I’ve been having a look over the detail and undoubtedly the state is in a good financial position. The state has an extremely large amount of money and media reports that call it the “envy of the western world” are quite correct. Most of this is to be attributed to the large amounts of stamp duty collected, as well as the sale of assets. That said; there is a very clear case for rural, regional and remote areas to be getting a bigger slice of the pie.

There are some welcome initiatives such as the new Regional Growth Fund which represents an additional $1.3 billion for regional NSW. This will be flowing out via a number of sub-projects and funds, which we are yet to see the full detail on. In principle though, it is an appreciated and sizeable investment. The key for success in the delivery of the projects funded within these programs will be the actual tangible outcomes we see, rather than more money spent on planning. Proof of the success and positive benefits of this funding is a long way off for many of the communities of the west.

In many ways, this is a hard budget to criticize; although I do feel that with so much money, and having sold off large assets; the government have missed an opportunity to do some really visionary and ground-breaking projects, particularly for the bush. Those projects are happening in Sydney, but they are not happening in rural, regional and remote NSW on the same scale. Yet.

There is approximately $70 billion committed in the forward estimates, with $9 billion of that ear-marked for regional areas (so far). We need and deserve a bigger share; so let’s hope we see it next year prior to the election.

We can be thankful for a budget that places the state in a great position to be able to invest in its future, but we will be looking for a larger slice of the pie in the future. Rural, regional and remote NSW not only needs it; it deserves it.

What do you think?


CWA of NSW and Dunedoo community join forces to support Sir Ivan fire victims

Media Release – 16 February 2017

The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of New South Wales has today announced a commitment of up to $50,000 from its Disaster Relief fund, to assist the victims of the Sir Ivan fire with their immediate needs. The CWA also formed a committee with the community of Dunedoo yesterday to manage the many generous offers of assistance that are rolling in for people affected by fire.

All offers of help will be dealt with by the committee. Financial donations can be deposited into the CWA of NSW’s Disaster Relief Fund and will go directly to those in need. These donations will be tax deductible and can be made via the CWA of NSW website, or copy and paste this link:


According to CWA of NSW’s President, Annette Turner, 31 properties have been confirmed as destroyed but crop and stock loss assessment has only just begun and is escalating.

“Latest reports late yesterday from the Rural Fire Service indicated the 55,000 hectare fire was only just under control and many farmers have lost absolutely everything,” said Annette.


“Our Disaster Relief fund is for exactly these types of situations and we are very pleased to be able to assist. Food, clothing and financial donations are what is most needed at the moment and I encourage everyone who is able to to donate and support those affected,” she said.

  • Clothing and food donations are being co-ordinated by Dunedoo Central School office staff (call 02 6375 1489 for details of where and how to deliver or collect). No furniture deliveries will be accepted at this time as those affected have nowhere to store them.
  • Short term accommodation is being organised and those requiring it should contact Sharon Nott on 0428 859 509.
  • Water deliveries can be arranged by contacting Peter McClung on 0428 863 219
  • Hay and grain deliveries are being co-ordinated by Hayden Rhodes and Sandy Cox from Delta Sullivans – contact 02 6375 1209, Hayden on 0428 811 774 or Sandy on 0428 865 299.
  • Counselling for fire victims is being arranged and Dunedoo Central School have a counsellor coming in for student assistance.
  • Townspeople are on hand to do basic things like clothes washing if needed. Dunedoo Central School will be organising this service.16711966_1236282786455422_5133467928900852735_n

“If you know someone who needs assistance, they or you (on their behalf) can contact Joy Beames (0428 751 173) or Sam Barrass (0402 592 436),” said Annette.

“As the fire continues to burn to the east of Dunedoo the advice from the Rural Fire Service late yesterday was that while there is no immediate threat to homes, if you are in the area of Cassilis or Coolah and in the vicinity of Warrumbungles Way, monitor conditions and be prepared to take action if the fire threatens your property.


An information point has been established at the Coolah Sports Club. NSW RFS community liaison members are available to provide information and updates to residents. Please use caution when traveling in the area as there are reports of livestock and native animals on the road. Roads may also close at short notice for firefighting operations,” said Annette.