Launched in 2005, the voluntarily run Bisley Community Composting Scheme transforms unwanted garden waste from the local community into re-usable compost for its members and local allotment holders. In early 2014 they purchased an Arborist 130 chipper from GreenMech enabling them to recycle 100% of the waste they received.
The idea for the scheme was borne from a meeting of local allotment holders requesting a good supply of compost. Lesley Greene, along with Site Manager Liz Howlett, obtained premises at the local allotment and the required Environment Agency exempt licence with support from both the County and District Councils. “They were both very helpful and provided a bit of capital to get us going” explains Lesley. “The scheme became successful very quickly. In our first year we attracted 50 household members and now in our 10th anniversary year we have 150 mainly from the Parish.”
The Committee quickly recognised that the number of members would mean a lot of green material would be donated so decided to purchase some equipment to help them transform the waste quicker. “We invested in a tiny chipper but that just wasn’t up to the job. Thanks to funding from the District Council, and a DEFRA/RHS Sustainable Growing Media grant we managed to go out to tender for a new machine. Julian Cullis at GreenMech was a fantastic help, recommending not only a suitable chipper but also suggesting ways of helping the scheme run more efficiently. We have 6 trained operatives who use the Arborist 130 usually once a week and it has transformed the whole process. Putting the green material through the chipper enables it to break down quicker and produces a finer quality product in a shorter amount of time.” Lesley estimates that they now turn over approximately 50 to 60 tonnes of material a year.
News of the high quality produce, officially termed soil conditioner, spread around the village and it has been chosen for use at a number of high profile events. “We have proudly supplied the local Stroud in Bloom competition for the last 2 years, and this year we also supplied Stonehouse in Bloom too. It’s all been independently analysed, I use it in my own garden and it really is excellent stuff!” adds Lesley.
The ongoing campaign against peat, a non-sustainable material, is of paramount importance to the Community. With the help of the GreenMech chipper, local people have become more accepting of a non-commercial, non-peat based, product.