How did your business begin?
After many years as a thought bubble, and waiting for the right time to commit, Eco Passive was finally born during the height of COVID, in mid 2020. It was in direct response to the new wave of growing awareness of locally grown produce, along with the benefits of composting and the repurposing of local organic waste in order to grow better quality food.
Why do you do what you do? What is your mission and vision for the future?
Our mission is to be a local leader in diverting organic waste from landfill and using it to manufacture high quality, organic gardening products. Our vision for the future is based on continuing to close the organic loop in our area, with local people and business adequately educated and empowered to take part in that goal, in whatever way they can.
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 business fit into Australia’s composting story?
We currently have a small commercial composting facility in Darwin, that caters for small to medium food businesses, with plans to grow in the medium term. We also assist businesses and householders to set up their own on-site composting systems, if they have the space to do so. The retail side of our business sells locally bred compost worms, worm farms, bokashi buckets, locally made bokashi mix and an ever increasing range of locally manufactured gardening products made from local organic waste products.
As a compost collection partner, is your business 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 at your business?
Yes, we have a limited collection service available for local food businesses and small events, and can compost BioPak compostable packaging as part of that service. We have chosen to use an in-vessel composting method, giving us greater control over the composting process, making it more efficient and also giving us more control over the emissions created.
Have you had to adapt your processes to accept BioPak products?
Yes, it took a little tweaking to consistently reach the temperatures required in order to break down the heavier bioplastic products as efficiently as possible. Our initial challenge was the coffee cup lids and the cold cups, which are popular in our area.
How much compost do you produce in a year?
***Our compost operation hasn’t been running for a full year yet! Can update this for you at a later time 🙂
Do you have to maintain any standards or certifications for the compost?
***At present, and for quite some time yet, all our compost goes into feeding our growing worm farm operation, and is not sold as compost.
How do you manage the risk of contamination to organic waste? I.e. non-compostable waste making its way into the waste collection bin.
Having a flexible collection system that can adapt to each businesses unique needs and then following up with good communication and with patience, particularly in the early stages. With well designed processes and training at the collection point, along with a well engaged client, we have found we can really make an impact on contamination. We understand that new processes take time to implement and are not always fool-proof, so anything that does make it through to the facility is either hand removed or mechanically screened out, adding time and cost to the operation.
Who are your major customers?
**We are too new to list any major customers here.
What are some of the challenges with composting?
The challenge we find that most people have with composting is the carbon to nitrogen ratio, air and moisture required for an efficient composting process. It can put a lot of people off when their compost turns ugly, especially in tropical Darwin! Fortunately our processes have bought this within our control and it is actually the efficient collection of the organics, with minimal contamination, that we find the most challenging.
What is the best way for people to advocate for commercial composting in their city?
Sometimes it is the sum of the smaller changes that add up to the real big ones. Ask your favourite coffee shop or restaurant what happens to their food waste and let them know it is important to you as a customer.
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