Compost bins and worm farms

You can be more sustainable and reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill by using worm farms and compost bins.

More than half of household waste is made up of food and garden scraps.

Using a worm farm or compost bin helps the environment by significantly reducing the amount of waste that is thrown away.

Available worm farms

Hungry bin worm farm

  • Dimensions: About the size of a small wheelie bin.
  • Cost: $294

RELN worm farm

  • Dimensions: L 570mm X W 395mm X H 640mm
  • Cost: $89

What is worm farming?

Worm farming is when you feed fruit and vegetable scraps to compost worms. There are 3 common types of compost worms: tiger worms, Indian blues and red wrigglers. These worms eat their body weight in a single day and can double in population every 2 to 3 months.

The worms produce castings that make a great fertiliser for gardens and indoor plants. Keeping a worm farm requires minimal maintenance and is ideal for people living in flats or in houses with small backyards.

How do I worm farm?

You can purchase a variety of different worm farms from nurseries and hardware stores or you can make your own.

Once you have your worm farm and compost worms, all you need to do is add your fruit and vegetable scraps each week. Add a small amount of food in the first week and increase this amount gradually over six months. Make sure to chop up the food first and include a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Compost worms will also eat coffee grinds, paper, leaves and even damp cardboard. Do not add onions, garlic and chilli or acidic food such as oranges or lemons.

Avoid meat and dairy foods or materials contaminated with toxic chemicals such as sawdust from treated wood. If uneaten food remains in the farm, you will know you have overfed the worms.

Place a few layers of newspaper on top of the food to keep the moisture in your worm farm. Pour some water on the newspaper every few days during summer to prevent the worm farm from drying out.

For more information about worm farms visit Sustainability Victoria’s website

Available compost bins

220L compost bin

  • Dimensions: W 770mm X H 780mm
  • Cost: $37

What is composting?

Composting is when household food scraps and garden waste is broken down to create a dark soil. This soil is nutrient-rich and provides an excellent fertiliser for your garden. 

Why compost? 

  • Supercharge your garden: feed your garden nutrient-rich soil and watch it flourish! A compost pile or worm farm can become a valuable source of plant food for your garden.
  • Divert food waste from landfill: food makes up 50% of our waste going to landfill which breaks down in a way that creates greenhouse gases, affecting air quality and contributes to climate change. 
  • Save money: Each year, we throw out $2,000 worth of food. 

How do I compost?

  • Choose a shady spot in your garden.
  • Turn your compost pile regularly to give it air.
  • Break up clumps of food waste or add twigs and newspapers to increase air spaces. 
  • Keep it moist, but not wet.
  • Ensure you feed it the right food.
  • Balance is key. Like the food you eat, your garden is as healthy as the soil you feed them. Too much of the same thing limits diversity of our nutrients, so change up what you toss in your compost! 
  • Lasagne technique: Add a layer of newspaper, grass, leaves or straw when you add food scraps. 

Building your compost

There are a number of methods for building your compost and each will take a different amount of time:

  • Layering: add 10cm layers of vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings, leaves and shredded newspaper, covering each layer with a thin layer of soil and a small amount of fertiliser. Your compost will be ready in three to six months, but will take less time if it is turned regularly.
  • All together: add saved kitchen and garden waste to your compost at once and turn several times a week. This generates a lot of heat, making your compost ready in 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Compost worms: Layer your compost as usual but add compost worms. The worms will turn the heap for you making your compost ready in approximately 3 months. Many nurseries and hardware stores sell compost worms.

You will know your compost is ready to use when it is dark and crumbly.

Always remember to wear gloves when handling the compost and adding the soil to your garden.

What can I compost? 

  • bread and cake (please note: these may attract mice)
  • egg shells
  • fresh grass clippings
  • human and animal hair
  • manure
  • old newspapers (wet)
  • sawdust (not from treated timber) and wood ash
  • tea leaves, tea bags and coffee grounds
  • used vegetable cooking oil
  • vacuum cleaner dust
  • weeds
  • vegetable and fruit peelings and scraps
  • bark
  • cane mulch
  • dry grass clippings
  • dry leaves
  • egg cartons
  • hay
  • paper
  • shredded paper and cardboard
  • straw
  • tree prunings
  • blood and bone
  • dolomite
  • dynamic lifter
  • lime
  • soil
  • wood ash

What can't I compost?

  • dairy products
  • diseased plant material
  • fat
  • large branches
  • magazines
  • meat scraps and bones (Bokashi bins can accept these)
  • metals
  • plastic
  • glass
  • pet droppings

What's your compost telling you? 

  • Too wet? Add more browns (dead leaves, twigs, newspaper)
  • Too dry? Add some greens (grass, fruit) and sprinkle with water
  • Too smelly? Add dry material (newspaper, grass), turn your compost to air the soil and add a dash of lime juice
  • Breaking down too slowly? Turn your compost to expose it to air and add water
  • Maggots in your compost? You may have added meats, faeces and fats. Cover with lime juice or soil.
  • Pests in your compost? Your compost is too dry – remove any breads/grains, cover entry with wire, turn compost and add moisture.
  • Lasagne technique: Add a layer of newspaper, grass, leaves or straw when you add food scraps.
  • Feels warm? Your compost is breaking down correctly
  • Taking too long to break down? Turn your compost more regularly. It usually takes three to six months, but turning it will speed it up!

Can't compost but still want to help?

Visit Share Waste to find someone in Yarra who can accept and compost your food scraps, or add yourself as a host and compost for others to divert it from landfill. 

For more information about compost visit Food Know How and Sustainability Victoria's website

We're currently trialling a new food and green waste collection service in selected areas of Abbotsford. Trial participants are helping the environment by reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. Information gathered from our trial may be used to improve and expand the program in the future. To find out more and follow our progress, visit Food Know How

How to order a worm farm or compost bin

1. Order a worm farm or compost bin online. Click on 'Sustainability and recycling' then 'Order a compost bin/worm farm'.  Once your order has been approved you will be issued with an invoice. 

2. Pay for your worm farm or compost bin:

 3. Pick up your worm farm or compost bin. 

Bin collection 

You can collect from our depot, corner of Roseneath and Gray streets, Clifton Hill. Monday to Friday 8.30am to 2.30pm.

You will need to bring your receipt of payment.