Fact: One kilogram of worms can eat a kilogram of food scraps in a day
Fact: There are over four billion hungry micro-organisms in every teaspoon of compost.
The last bastion of a family's recycling commitment could be the establishment of a worm farm in the backyard - it's fun, practical and can have huge benefits in getting rid of extra household waste and not sending it to the tip.
Experts agree that although we have all become very good at recycling our paper and plastic products, we have largely neglected the benefits of 'green' recycling. This goes to the tip in our bins, producing greenhouse gases and toxic 'leachate' that can pollute our waterways and creeks.
Organic waste can be a good resource because fortunately, we have some great allies in the animal kingdom - the worms and the countless billions of micro-organisms that live in compost. These creatures are designed to help us deal with the problem of getting rid of food scraps.
Worm farming, composting food scraps, mulching garden clippings and recycling can help reduce domestic waste by more than 50 per cent.
"Composting is a great way of reducing the amount of you household food waste going to landfill. Household scraps such as fruit, vegetables, grains and even garden clippings can be put in your compost bin - even vacuum cleaner dust and cardboard," says Manly Council's environment officer Bolinda Tremain.
"Worm farms are great for people without a garden, because they only take food scraps and not garden clippings - unlike compost bins - and they don't need to be placed on open soil," she notes.
Worms produce highly nutritious solid and liquid fertiliser which can be used for your garden and the benefits are certanly worth the investment, making our homes more environmentally friendly, contributing less to greenhouse gasses and landfill.
Worm farms are a great way to turn those leftover kitchen scraps into a rich fertiliser - especially if you are living on a small block, or in a unit or flat. They can even be placed ona balcony; all you need is a small, cool, well-shaped spot. Local councils now sell worm farms and compost bins to residents so call your local council to find out the costs and availablity.They range from about $33 for a compost bin to $60 for worm farms.
You can help your worms eat a lot more by mashing, blending or processing the scraps, maintaining the temperature of around 24 degrees and avoiding acid foods which do not break down as quickly.
You can feed your worms acid foods like onions, citrus, garlic, shallots, meat, dairy products and garden waste, and adding water to the farm will enhance the production of the liquid fertiliser.
Food wastes are about 80 per cent water, which is released as the worms break down the material. And you can never have too many worms - matureworms can eat up to half their body weight every day.
Your council will also have a regular green re-cycling collection. Check to see when it is collected and how it is to be collected as you may need to present it loose or tied or bundled in a certain way.
If you don't present it in a way that's acceptable to the council, you may find it still outside your home the next day!
For more information, contact your local council.