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Our Composters

B Alternative

Team Compost Connect, 28 January 2022
B Alternative

How did B-Alternative come about?

A few years ago, Director Jace Rahilly became increasingly frustrated with the growing issue of plastic pollution in our oceans. While on a trip with activists Sea Shepherd, he also experience the devastation occurring to our non-human beings as a result of human climate inaction. From there, a deep passion for Earth care was born and B-Alternative was formed to enable people to be the change we wish to see in the world. We are now an experienced environmental consultancy working with festivals, councils, venues, businesses, schools, hospitals and more!

Why do you do what you do? What is your mission and vision for the future?

B-Alternative exists to shake things up across Australia for a planet-positive future. Our mission is to be a catalyst for cultural change by providing systems, products and consulting in low impact alternatives for individuals, businesses and groups
Our vision for the future is to facilitate a cultural shift in attitudes and behaviour towards low impact living, where humans treat the planet and themselves with love and consciousness.

Composting organic materials at home and in large-scale facilities is part of a growing trend in Australia to better manage and re-use organic material. How does your organisation fit into Australia’s composting story?

Organic materials to us are a resource, not waste! B-Alternative is a huge advocate for composting food scraps and organic materials not only to reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, but to encourage new thinking around wasting food and to give back to our soils and agricultural industry. We educate on and supply commercial organics composting services to residential and commercial sites across southern Victoria, with ambitions to expand this far and wide.

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

At present, we utilise a partnership with a local vetted contractor who commercially composts all certified packaging and food waste in an enclosed hot facility under strict regulations. The end product is a soil-like substance that can be applied to agricultural land for soil remediation. In order to bring more efficient, flexible and localised composting solutions to more regions, we are currently developing exciting partnerships that utilise innovative technologies to process more waste, better. Watch this space!

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

As we do not compost ourselves, our contractors manage this. We do, however, maintain regular conversation around acceptable and unacceptable products with our contractors both to minimise contamination and to maintain accuracy in our education of the clients who access the service.

How much compost do you produce in a year?

We do not process compost directly, but organise collection of FOGO from our clients, which is in the realm of hundreds of tonnes per year. This fluctuates greatly with festival seasons and COVID-19 restrictions. The compost volume produced is dependent on the type and volume of waste collected.

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

Yes – we educate our clients on requirements before initiating services. All other regulations are as per our contractors.

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

At present, our contractors produce a soil-like substance that is purchase wholesale by local farmers. Future systems implemented in partnership with new clients will also include frass and high-quality protein by-products.

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

Education is our specialty! Our expert team runs staff education sessions, creates accurate signage and instructions, and only sells certified compostables through our procurement branch to ensure only the right items are ending up in organics bins. Even from high-volume festivals, we can boast a near 99% contamination-free rate!

Who are your major customers?

We predominantly work with events organisers, hospitality venues and local businesses to divert their organics from landfill. We also service healthcare clinics, schools, offices and more!

What are some of the challenges with composting?

Almost every client we talk to is keen to start composting, if they aren’t already! But due to variability in the market of compostable products, including descriptions like ‘biodegradable’ and ‘eco-friendly’, as well as the different acceptance rates by processors, it’s typically challenging for most people to know what can and can’t be composted. On top of this, not enough LGAs have access to high-quality composting facilities. We aim to not only educate and demystify, but to increase availability of services to get everyone composting!

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

We know that demand dictates supply. The more people voice their needs and concerns, the more likely they are to be listened to. By speaking or writing to your councillors, local sustainability groups and MPs, people can make their needs known. With so many research-based examples of successful systems in parts of Australia, the data now exists to support requests. If people are struggling to access commercial composting locally, they can get in touch with B-Alternative to talk about possible solutions!


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