Waste education project ready to roll

Monday June 27, 2016 Written by Published in Education
Compost bins and worm farms like these are being readied to send out to schools around the Cook Islands. 16062324 Compost bins and worm farms like these are being readied to send out to schools around the Cook Islands. 16062324

THIS WEEK Te Ipukarea Society received their 40 earthmaker compost bins from New Zealand.


The Earthmaker bin providess a highly efficient way of disposing of domestic organic waste. The bins have a capacity of 466 litres, and provide a continuous cycle of decomposition.

Food scraps and garden waste can be added at any time, and compost can be removed from a door at the bottom when needed. Unlike many modern composters, the Earthmakers are easy to use and no lifting or turning the compost is required as gravity does all the work. The bin’s design means it heats up, aerates and rotates the material on its own, meaning organic waste is broken down faster than in regular composters.

This latest arrival also included our additional “hungry bin” worm farms. We have already sent one worm farm from a previous shipment to each of three especially keen schools: Araura College, Mauke School and Te Uki Ou School. The Hungry Bin worm farms are also very easy to use. The worm farms produce a liquid that drips into a tray on the ground, which can be diluted with water and used as a liquid fertiliser in addition to the dry compost they produce.

The compost worms used the in worm farms are different from common garden worms that live in the soil. Unlike earthworms, compost worms do not make burrows in the soil, but live in the surface layer (the top 30cm). They have evolved to eat rotting plant matter on the forest floor, and are perfectly suited to break down food waste. Te Ipukarea Society will provide a starting population of worms for each worm farm, it is then hoped that students will be able to take care of the worms and allow them to reproduce.

Te Ipukarea Staff are now ready to start delivering a compost bin to every school in the Cook Islands, and worm farms to many of these as well. They will provide training for students on how to use and maintain them. Both of these products reduce waste which would otherwise be burnt or go straight to our landfills (it is understood the Rarotonga landfill is nearly full), they also create rich compost from this waste which can be used to benefit home gardens.

Through the waste education project, Te Ipukarea Society will teach students of the Cook Islands about these two different processes of decomposition, which will benefit their scientific understanding as well as teach them how to live more environmentally friendly lives. Another organisation that is passionate about composting, Titikaveka Growers Association, has offered to supply some starting compost for  fast track production in each of the worm farms

Te Ipukarea Society is contacting all schools on Rarotonga to organise dates for the set up and trainings on how to use these two bins. They are planning to give the bins to all Pa Enua schools throughout this year and possibly extending into 2017, as it may take some time for our worms to breed up to meet the demand.

We have already confirmed training and set up of worm farms and composters at Rutaki School on July 15.

We also will be setting visits for training for other schools very soon, these include: Nukutere College, Imanuela Akatemia, and Te Uki Ou School.

If your school would like to set a date for training and presentation of a worm farm and compost bin get in contact with Te Ipukarea Society Ph: 21144 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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