Compost probe put to the test in quest to divert waste from landfill


Local schools and community gardens are working with Council to test a new invention from an Australian start-up that promises to make composting easier and more successful. 

Picture for compost trial media release

Julie Leake, Ashley Baxter, Karen Sell, Ron Bollard at Veggie Village.

If the trial goes well, it could help other schools, community groups, and residents compost organic waste and spare it from landfill – fulfilling a goal of Council’s waste strategy.

Cooroy Permaculture Gardens, Veggie Village, Pomona State School and Kin Kin State School are working with Waste Education Officer, Emma Menzies.

“The device consists of a thick probe, which sits in the compost and uses sensors to monitor its health,” Ms Menzies said.

“It computes the data and provides the school students and community gardeners with instructions, via an app, on when to turn the compost, add water and more carbon, such as leaves and straw, and any other steps they should take, including advice to overcome pests and odours.

“The aim is to make the composting process faster and more successful.”

Known as Monty, the device is the work of an Australian technology start-up – Monty Compost Co.

Designer, Ashley Baxter, says it promises to turn anyone into an expert composter – a claim Council is looking to test with the current trial.

“Organic waste produces methane gas as it decomposes in landfill, trapping 25 times more heat than carbon dioxide. By contrast, composting doesn’t produce methane gas and the finished product is great for use in gardens, so anything we can do to promote and encourage composting is worthwhile,” Ms Menzies said.

“Council staff met Ms Baxter in 2019 and loved the idea of what she was trying to produce as many residents often contact us for help because they’ve tried composting but it didn’t work or it smelt.

“Council is looking at ways to reduce organic waste going into landfill, so the more homes, schools, businesses and community groups we can get composting, the better.

“We look forward to see whether this device proves a success for our schools and community gardens in the trial.”