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Our Composters


Team Compost Connect, 18 March 2022
Heavy machinery shovelling soil into a truck

How did Jeffries begin?

The Jeffries family arrived in South Australia in 1842 and soon after started farming on land just North of Adelaide. Through the depression in the 1920s, they adapted and used their farming trucks as transporters of firewood and manure. This built the foundations of the Jeffries composting business we see today. Our current world-leading composting facility is not far from the original family farm and includes a significant fodder growing enterprise, keeping the Jeffries family’s hands firmly in the soil.

How does Jeffries fit into Australia’s composting story?

We have long been a proponent of securing soil for generations to come. Jeffries was involved in the first kerbside garden organics recycling collection service started in the nation! This was launched with the City of Salisbury back in the early 1990s.

We receive kerbside food and garden organics (FOGO) from many of Adelaide’s major councils. We also run a compost collection service that gathers commercial organics throughout the Adelaide Metropolitan area. All the organic material that we receive is processed by our one-of-a-kind facility right here in South Australia. All compostable material is broken down and recycled into landscaping, farming and gardening material that goes back into the community.

As a compost collection partner, Jeffries is facilitating the waste collection and commercial composting of food waste and BioPak compostable packaging. What happens after the waste is collected? What does the composting process look like?

It might sound silly, but we dislike the word ‘waste’ because it is not waste! What we recycle is so valuable. Especially since we work with organic material, it is the opposite of waste, it is full of potential!

  1. The organic material we receive through our partners (councils, arborists, landscapers, etc) or our own collection service is initially processed at the Jeffries site in Wingfield, North of Adelaide. This primary processing includes grinding and blending the material then transporting it further north to the Jeffries composting facility at Buckland Park.
  2. At this site, the material is laid out in windrows along forced aeration composting pads. The organics sit there for several weeks to meet Australian Composting Standards of heat, air and moisture.
  3. Once turned into beautiful compost, the material goes through Jeffries’ Recycled Organics Sorting System (affectionately known as ROSS) to be refined and made ready for sale.

How much compost do you produce in a year?

Over 200,000 ute loads per year!

Have you had to adapt your processes to accept BioPak products?

Not at all. All of BioPak’s certified compostable items break down into soft fluffy compost.

Do you have to maintain any standards or certifications for the compost?

Many of Jeffries products hold certification to both the relevant Australian Standards and NASAA Organic Certification. Jeffries are strong advocates of certification systems as it improves our processes whilst ensuring the safest, most consistent product is available to the end-user.

At the end of the process, what kinds of soil are produced, and where do they end up?

Jeffries’ end products include a range of compost, soil, mulch, organic fertilisers and soon Biochar products (we are about to commission the Jeffries BioChar plant). These products end up in home gardens, major landscape projects, and farming enterprises including vineyards and vegetable productions, along with being used in Jeffries’ own farming operations.

In addition to diverting organic waste from landfill, what are the other benefits of composting?

  1. Fights against global warming: Compost sequesters harmful carbon from the atmosphere which offsets the warming effects of climate change.
  2. Regenerates soil: As compost is such a rich, diverse source of microorganisms, it is the best way to bring unusable, dry, unproductive soil back to life. Compost acts to regenerate soil by encouraging plant health, promoting strong root growth, creating plants that are more resilient to the elements and disease, and acts to reduce temperature fluctuations in the Earth.
  3. Increases agricultural output: Fruit, vegetable and particularly grape growers rely on compost to have productive seasons. This makes it critically important that enough compost is made through organisations like Jeffries so these industries are supported year round.

How do you manage the risk of contamination to organic waste? I.e. non-compostable waste making its way into the waste collection bin.

Jeffries has a two-prong approach to reducing and managing contamination.

  1. The first is education. We work alongside many great organisations to educate the community on what can and can’t go into your green bin. We love to collaborate and spread the message as far and wide as we can. The truth is that not many people know what is safe for the green bin, meaning well-intentioned mistakes are often made.
  2. The second is by catching the contamination through our processing facility. Whilst everyone is still learning about what can and can’t go, we rely on our world-leading, one-of-a-kind plant, ROSS. ROSS uses infrared technology and x-ray technology with a combination of air and water to separate the organic material from the contaminates. Jeffries engineered ROSS specifically for this purpose so there is none other like it in the world.

Who are your major customers?

Jeffries collect from over 7000 sites across Metro Adelaide meaning there are so many wonderful businesses to choose from. Some of our most well-known customers include Haighs Chocolates, Tony and Mark’s Supermarkets, Drakes Supermarkets and Vili’s Bakery. These companies are some of South Australia’s most well-known icons.

What are some of the challenges with composting?

Contamination is one of the biggest challenges with composting commercial and kerbside organics. Unfortunately, the world is so full of plastic and no matter how much education is done, it somehow seems to make its way into green bins.

People are starting to move away from plastic with the legislation in South Australia banning single-use plastic coming into play as of March 2021. We are hoping this will lead to a significant reduction in contamination as well as an increase in compostable alternatives.

Jeffries compost facility topview

What is the best way for people to advocate for commercial composting in their city?

The best way is for people to use their green bins at home and at work. Showing your neighbours, family and friends how easy it is to adopt a green bin is incredibly powerful. Being a champion that inspires others to do the right thing by using the right bin really makes a difference.

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