Canberra Community Composting

The Hungry Composter

The Canberra Environment Centre is the home of the Canberra Community Composting station.  The Centre has been accepting household food scraps from the community to be composted in the Acton Community Garden since early 2017.  These scraps have been turned into nutrient rich compost utilising traditional methods of composting and the finished product has been used to boost the growth of the vegetables grown in our organic garden.  In late 2017 the Centre received funding from the ACT Government to purchase an On-Site-Composting-Apparatus in order to increase the amount of household food scraps we can process and to showcase innovative methods of dealing with organic waste.

 Our hungry OSCA (On Site Composting Apparatus) 

Our hungry OSCA (On Site Composting Apparatus) 

The Hungry Composter is the nickname for our new composting machine.  The machine is solar-powered and is a silent, odourless, continuous-feed system that processes food scraps into ready-to-use compost within 10-14 days.

The Hungry Composter can process up to 100 litres of mixed waste per day, meaning some carbon-rich matter (paper, cardboard, etc) and some nitrogen-rich matter (food scraps, green waste). The Hungry Composter project is designed to take food scraps from the community, to help those who feel they don’t have either the space, time or know-how of how to compost successfully at home. 

Unfortunately, we cannot offer composting services to businesses/organisations that produce high amounts of food waste (such as cafes) at this time. If you would like composting services for your business, please contact Able Organic Recycling or Cid from Global Worming

If you’re interested in feeding the Hungry Composter, please read the guidelines on the opposite page and fill out the registration form.

If you’d like to stay up-to-date about OSCA tours and news please sign up to out newsletter using the form a the bottom of this page.

Manufacturer’s Website: Worms Down Under

Feeding the Hungry Composter

Composting Guidelines

If you would like to feed the Hungry Composter, please read the below information and fill in the registration form.  Thanks for your help!

What not to deposit

  • Anything inorganic. Make sure small bits of plastic aren’t included with your food scraps such as apple stickers, etc.
  • Large pieces of cardboard
  • Egg cartons 
  • Laminated or waxed cardboards or glossy paper (this includes milk cartons)
  • Coffee cups
  • Bones
  • Large amounts of anything acidic, e.g. a whole uncooked chicken
  • Pet poo
  • Liquids.  This is very important as these can give the Hungry Composter serious indigestion. This includes soups, oils and very wet waste.

What to deposit

Household food scraps are mostly what you’ll be feeding the Hungry Composter.  This includes:

 Please place your scraps in the little black bins 

Please place your scraps in the little black bins 

  • Raw or cooked fruit and vegetables including citrus and onions - please remove all elastic bands, stickers and labels. 
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Meat and poultry
  • Cereals and grains
  • Dairy and eggs

You can also feed it used coffee grounds, used serviettes, tissues and paper towels.  If you have any questions about what it can eat, please give us a call.

    How much to deposit

    The average household produces between 1.8-3.3  kilograms of food waste per week week. Your deposits can be as small as you want, but we’d prefer the upper limit to be 5 kilograms. This is to ensure that we are taking food scraps from as a wide range of people as possible.

    Where to deposit

    The Hungry Composter is located at the south end of the Centre, near the car park entry. There is a signposted collection bin similar to your green bin next to to the fence entry.  Collection bins are accessible 24/7. 

    Please only deposit food scraps into the black collection bins! Do not feed OSCA directly as she's on a strict feeding schedule and needs to consume your food scraps with a good mixture of carbon material at the same time. 


    Please register with us before you start feeding the Hungry Composter. This helps us to manage the system, and makes it easier for us to service you. You can fill out our online form (click on the button below) or fill out a hard copy when you come to the garden. We are open business hours Monday to Thursday.

    ***Update 22/8/8: Please note we have currently reached capacity for registrations at this point and are no longer accepting new registrations. Keep an eye out on this page for details of when registrations will open again. 

    If you’d like to get more involved in the feeding of the Hungry Composter, please drop us a line at


    CompostHub is our free education program on composting and wormfarming.  CompostHub is designed to help people like yourself learn to compost and wormfarm, and become more self-sufficient with your organic waste stream management. We love getting your stuff, but there’s lots you can do even if you live in an apartment, and we want to support you in your composting mission. We also hold a troubleshooting session and a tour of the Hungry Composter.

    When: Second Saturday of each month, 10am-midday

    Where: Acton Community Garden, located at the Canberra Environment Centre. 

    Stay tuned for more information about CompostHub. 

    Current Projects

    Acton Community Garden 

    The Acton Community Garden is a place for students, staff and everyone else to get their hands dirty and grow some food. Since September 2015 the Canberra Environment Centre has completed a number of projects in the garden in order to re-establish it as a food producing paradise.  

    Two Work for the Dole programs are continuing in 2018, alongside a LEAD disability program, three days a week.

    everyone is welcome and encouraged to join us in the garden.

    If you need a break from your studies or you just want to help out and take home some fresh veggies or simply want to learn a thing or two about growing your own food, come down and say hello.

    Acton Community Garden is open to keen beans of all skill levels, all year round. The garden is right here at the Canberra Environment Centre and we would love to see you down here to share some stories, get your hands dirty and eat fresh veggies from the garden.


      Get involved by:

      • Coming along to a weekly gardening bee: 
        •  Wednesday afternoons: summer hours 4-6pm & winter hours 3-5pm (winter hours start on 4 April 2018) 
        • Saturday mornings:  10am - 12pm
      • Dropping by the garden between 9am - 5pm, Tuesday to Thursday. 
      • Bringing your food scraps (no raw meat please) to our communal composting bin. The bin is located behind the garden shed and marked with a sign that says 'public food scrap collection'. The bin can be accessed 24/7. 
      • Joining us the occasional woodfired pizza. We usually fire up the oven on the second Saturday of the month to coincide with Repair Cafe. It's a great opportunity to meet plenty of like minded people and get your hands dirty. 
      • Using the space for education, research or therapeutic purposes. Have an idea? Let us know by visiting, calling on 6248 0885 or emailing us at garden[at] 
      • Following us on facebook for updates on gardening bees and special events. 
      • Sign up to our mailing list by clicking the button below

      Grow Together

      Grow Together is a nutrition education program for young children that was established by the Canberra Environment Centre in 2011. The aim of the project is to introduce kids to healthy food and build an awareness of the natural environment through growing food, composting food scraps and having a whole lot of fun.  Childcare centres are provided with raised garden beds, a rainwater tank, a worm farm and a compost bin which become the platform for weekly education sessions.  The children are involved in all steps of the growing process from planting seeds to harvesting and eating raw foods.

      Grow Together is currently running at six Southside Community Services childcare centres: Acacia Children’s Education and Care Centre, Binara Early Childhood Centre, Birralee Care and Educational Centre, Currawong Childcare Centre, Forrest Early Childhood Centre and Narrabundah Children's Cottage.

      Grow Together is supported by ACT Healthy Canberra Grants in 2017.

      Vermiculture and Composting

      In late 2016, a team of dedicated work experience participants began work on an industrial worm farm and composting facility at the Canberra Environment Centre. The aim is to build a fully functional vermiculture and composting system for the ANU and surrounding area. So far, greenwaste from the community garden and food waste from the Centre are composted into one of three stations that operate on rotation.

      Progress has also been made on a large-scale worm farm. Recycled materials, including a recycled bath tub, will be used to house the worms.  Food waste will be fed into the upper layer, where worms will turn them into vermicompost. The ready made sink will collect the worm tea and castings.

      We are inviting all cafes, halls of residences, offices, other campus groups and individuals to contribute food waste, kitchen scraps and green waste to the facility. Feel free to drop by with your compostable waste and place in the marked compost bins.

      Tumbleweed Worm Farms and Compost Bins

      The Canberra Environment Centre has partnered with Tumbleweed to offer the Canberra community reduced price worm-farms and compost bins.  All are simple to set up and can process the majority of your household food waste.  Composting and worm farming help you to reduce the amount of food waste you send to landfill while producing organic fertiliser for your garden at the same time! Please call or drop by to check out what we have in stock. Ask us about worms on (02) 6248 0885.

      Find our more information about worm farms and composting here


      Worm Cafe: $60 

      Worm blanket: $10 each

      Organi-bin (for collecting scraps in the kitchen): $15 

      220L round compost bin $45 each

      240L rectangular compost bin (comes with doors at base) $65 each

      140L Compost tumbler $145

      Wee Ones Modern Cloth Nappy Display

      Modern cloth nappies are affordable and environmentally friendly nappies. Unlike their plastic, disposable counterparts or old towel-style cloth nappies, they are reusable, washable and non-irritating. Our Wee Ones Cloth Nappy Display is a library for parents who want to have a feel and a look at the types of modern cloth nappies, accessories, inserts and kits before making a purchase. Call in any time between Monday to Thursday 10am – 5pm.

      Current brands and manufacturers include:

      • Little Diamond Bums
      • Eenee Designs
      • ecobumba & Bubba J
      • Baby Beehind
      • GroVia
      • Softbots
      • Cushie Tushies
      • Kodomo (Omaiki)
      • Bambooty
      • The Pocket Nanny
      • Bambino Mia
      • Nappies Covered
      • gloBugs
      • Issy Bear Nappies
      • Bonnibumns
      • Itti bitti
      • Baby mumma
      • Real Nappies
      • Hatchlings Cloth Nappies
      • Chloe Toes

      The Recyclery


      The Recyclery is where pre-loved bikes go to get a second chance at life.  Got a bike in reasonable condition that is no longer ridden?  Drop it in to the Centre and we will nurture it back to good health and pass it along to someone who needs it. 

      Need some wheels to get around town but don't want to spend a fortune?  Come and check out our range of second-hand bikes, tuned by a professional bike mechanic and ready to roll out the door from as little as $80.  You can rest assured in knowing that the money you're spending or the bike you're donating is helping to divert waste from landfill and assisting the Environment Centre in continuing their community education projects.  

      The Recyclery has become an institution for Canberra cycle lovers and was managed lovingly by LEAD employment for a number of years before entering a new phase in life under the direction of the Canberra Environment Centre. 

      Our good friends Cycle Jam utilise the space from 4pm-7pm every Wednesday and will show you how to fix your own bike for no charge at all!

      Please note that the Recyclery cannot repair your bike for you.  We encourage you to attend Cycle Jam and learn to fix it yourself.

      Recyclery opening hours:  9am – 4pm Monday to Thursday.


      You can pay for your bike via bank transfer or with cash at the Canberra Environment Centre. 


      Repair Cafe

      Save items from landfill, connect with neighbours and share skills.

      The Canberra Environment Centre is proud to host a Repair Cafe on the second Saturday of each month at the CEC (except for summer months). Repair Cafe is a community group of volunteers working together to fix and recycle everyday things. Check out the Repair Cooperative's facebook page for updates. 

      Anyone can come along with a broken household item and get some help from other volunteers to restore it to its former glory. You could bring along clothing, bicycles, rusty tools, furniture (or photos of it), small appliances, costume jewellery or many other things.

      Volunteers have experience in repairing items, and usually bring their own tools and help visitors fix their broken item, teaching them how to do it for next time. Volunteer skills include fixing clothing, battery-powered electricals, woodwork, bicycles, jewellery and plastics. If you can bring spare parts (like zippers, clasps, chains) for your broken item, this will make it easier to fix, but otherwise we'll improvise! Attendees can also bring their own tools if they have them and use the time to repair with others, or seek advice. Our tools are limited but we are building up a small collection of communal tools, that are donated by members of the community.

      If you have skills to share or tools to share on the day or donate, please get in touch, either by coming along on the day or emailing

      Who can attend? 

      Repair Cafe is open to anyone! If you have experience in fixing household items, we'd love it if you could share your skills. If you don't have repairing skills, come along and learn from some of our more experienced volunteers. Children are welcome, as long as they are supervised, and don't use power tools.

      Repair Cafe.jpg

      Past Projects

      Ecotherapy Garden

      This project is developing a garden, consisting predominantly of native plants, at the public mental health ward (2N) at Calvary Hospital.

      The garden provides a private therapeutic environment for patients to undertake occupational therapy activities, and to use as they wish. In planning for this project we found that therapeutic gardens have long been seen to be beneficial to patients in health care environments.  In 1964, the term ‘biophilia’ was first used to describe the psychological orientation of being attracted to things that are alive and vital.  This theory has been extensively researched and has been demonstrated to have positive effects on people’s psychological wellbeing and health. Environmental factors such as the existence and use of gardens have been linked to decreased patient recovery time, decreasing use of pain medication and reduced stress to healthcare workers and patients’ families

      The garden also creates a natural space within the densely built environment of the hospital to encourage and promote biodiversity as an aid to creating a healthy and sustainable environment for all hospital users: patients, staff and visitors. Environmentally, a garden of this sort at the hospital contributes to better urban biodiversity and native habitat and forms a link between the hospital campus and surrounding bushland.  The area around the Calvary campus contains remnant bushland and through incorporating native species in the built landscape we establish and maintain connection between the natural and built environments.

      Carbon Challenge

      The 2012 Carbon Challenge was such a success that the ACT Government’s Environment and Planning Directorate decided to launch a new and improved version on their new look ACTSmart website in 2015. We have worked closely with the EPD in developing the new Carbon Challenge and we think you’re going to love it.

      If you are ready for a new challenge, join us at: and register today!