Composting with Bear Park

In 2019 Sue Stevely-Cole met with Richard Wallis from The CarbonCycle Company to pursue her passion for composting the organic waste at the Bear Park early childhood centres. They immediately connected as kindred spirits, and Sue’s forward thinking led to the installation of a two box composting system under a tree in the car park at the Remuera centre.

The Remuera centre staff pitch in with Richard to install the 2 box system

The design of the composting system stems from Richard’s own  passion. Twelve years ago, while on sabbatical in London with his family, Richard, who had been a barrister for 30 years, suggested to his sons’ school that they let him utilise an abandoned area by clearing away the assorted rubbish. He composted the green waste. The school started a gardening club and set up a huge vegetable garden. Witnessing the positive impact the garden had on the students:  learning about composting; growing, harvesting, cooking and eating that food, Richard realised the importance of this work. In the year following, the garden received a gold award in the eco-section at the Richmond In Bloom Flower Show.

The local MP, Zac Goldsmith, invited Richard to replicate the composting/kitchen gardening model in every school in Richmond. He was unable to execute that project as the family was about to return to New Zealand.

On his return to New Zealand, Richard’s first priority was to design a compost box that would be clean, efficient, vermin-proof and would be free of odour nuisance and, importantly, portable.. The unique features in the compost system design is now patented in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, India, Canada and the USA. The composting system is proudly made in New Zealand with frames extruded from recycled aluminium by McKechnie Aluminium in New Plymouth. The wood is Northland grown Japanese Cedar.

The design has several notable features. Its frame has no structural elements above the base, which provides unobstructed access from all sides for easy turning of the hot compost. Additionally, the system incorporates a unique interlocking feature, enabling boxes to be joined to one another in a configuration that best suits the site in a way that can be expanded or contracted as needed. The design facilitates efficient turning between boxes resulting in improved productivity.

The completed system ready to move the Centre to start creating healthy soils on site

The innovative design is the ultimate community-scale compost system. It empowers schools and communities to compost all food scraps, including meat, bones and dairy, on site . This enables individuals to grow abundant food at home, in community gardens, urban farms and food forests, and participate in forest restoration projects and/or contribute to planting trees for shade.

This local composting system has enabled Bear Park to lead the way and provide an example for others to follow in keeping food scraps in communities where they can use this community resource to enhance the amenity and food security of neighbourhoods.

Most importantly, centres that engage children in composting and growing food  are in an ideal position to inculcate good climate and ecosystem practices from a young age. The CarbonCycle team supplies and installs these composting systems while engaging teachers and learners in the process.

CarbonCycle will provide two wheelie bins with each system. One for the food waste (greens rich in nitrogen),and the other for  browns (carbon) such as dried leaves, wood shavings, and cardboard. Food waste will be placed in the first wheelie bin, and a layer of  carbon from the second bin will be placed on top.

Tim from CarbonCycle working the magic of compost

The CarbonCycle team will visit during the month to service the composting system by turning the food in the wheelie bins into the compost system. They will be measuring all the inputs into the compost and will be able to provide this important information to Bear Park so that they can follow how much ‘waste’ they divert from landfill.

In addition, we would like to share a helpful resource for compost enthusiasts. CarbonCycle has put together a comprehensive Composting Guide specifically tailored for educational purposes. This guide provides easy tips for effective composting.

Let’s get started on our composting journey!

More To Explore

Wearable Arts Bear Park Sue Stevely-Cole Royal Akarana Yacht Club

Wearable Arts by Bear Park

Within Bear Park, we view not only our children but also our teachers as resourceful creative thinkers, so with this in mind, we have once