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Students get up close to the worm farm.

Worm farm donated to Paeroa school

Paeroa Central School students now have their own worm farm as part of their aim for zero food scraps to landfill.
The worm farm was donated by Hauraki District Council recently after Mayor Toby Adams heard in the No Time to Waste Tiakina a Papa Mimiti te Para community engagement last year that schools were really keen to get involved with worm farming as a way to deal with food scraps.
Council takes the bonus points received from purchasing Parks and Reserves supplies, and uses them to buy worm farm bins to donate to local schools.
Council’s waste manager then uses funds from the waste levy to purchase the worms and education sessions for the schools from Zero Waste Education, making it a “win-win for the schools and the environment”.
“Inspiring our youth to look after Pāpatūanuku is priceless,” Mayor Adams said.
“Our waste audit showed that close to 50 per cent of what goes to landfill is food scraps and we wanted to help change that.
“And it’s not just food scraps that the worms love, they also eat the hair that gets stuck in your hairbrush and if you have pet rabbits or guinea pigs, the worms eat herbivore poo too,” he said.
Students were surprised to learn that although there are 194 worm species in New Zealand, it’s Tiger worms from Europe that are used in the worm farm because they are excellent eaters and reproduce quickly.
They also learnt that worm farm bins needed to be kept cool in the shade, but compost needed to be in a hot spot in the garden.
Lenny from Zero Waste Education was on hand all week to work with the students, who she found to be very engaged and interested in learning about reducing rubbish and food waste to landfill.
“What a wonderful week it’s been – so much enthusiasm and participation from the students and teachers,” she said.
In September, 2023, council will introduce kerbside food scraps collection as part of the No time to Waste Tiakina a Papa Mimiti te Para strategy to reduce organic waste to landfill by 100 per cent before June, 2027, including food scraps.
“It’s clear that our district is right behind these reuse, reduce and recycle initiatives after we received a big tick from our contractor congratulating the communities on their soft plastics recycling results,” Mayor Adams said.
“Since we introduced our collection bins in March, 2022, over 1880kgs or 1.88 tonnes of soft plastic has been diverted from landfill to go to FuturePost to make fence posts instead – what a great effort.
“We couldn’t ask for a better outcome.”