Massive On-Site Composting: The Eden Project Raises the Bar
Image credit: The Eden Project
The UK's Eden Project has long had our attention as a Treehugger's wonderland. From the 124 acre biome conservatories, to the rock concerts from Moby, Brian Wilson and PJ Harvey, to the recycled glass flutes they sell, created from bottles at their own restaurant, to hosting the premier of the Age of Stupid—this is much more than your average tourist attraction/conservation exhibit. And the team at Eden has just passed an important milestone—composting over 100 tonnes of its own food waste. As usual with these guys, it's not just what they do, but how they do it.Since 2005 the center has been taking food waste from its restaurants and turning it into nutritious, organic soil improver for its own gardens—taking what would normally be considered a waste stream, and turning it into a valuable resource. Currently over 90% of the food waste created at the Eden Project is recycled this way on site, removing the need for haulage to take it away, and reducing the need to import soil improvers.
Crucially, the project also makes use of the whole process as an educational tool. Visitors learn about recycling as they sort their own waste in the cafeterias and restaurants, and then get to view the recycling process itself as they pass the gigantic 30m3 Neter composter which is deliberately sited by one of the main car parks.
This is all part of The Eden Project's 'Waste Neutral' philosophy, which means that it is committed to buying the same weight of recycled materials as it sends for recycling or disposal. The idea is to help boost the market for recycled goods by adding one vital element on to the 'reduce, reuse, recycle' motto: reinvest.