Local firm steers waste revolution

BARWICKS traditionally a landscape supply business has now expanded to processing FOGO waste from southern councils and will be integral to Brighton Municipality’s FOGO service introduced later this year.

BARWICKS has traditionally been a landscape supply business with operations in several locations around greater Hobart including in the Brighton Municipality.  

Tyronn Barwick, who helps manage the family business, said the company had evolved since it began 44 years ago.

“Mum and Dad started the business in 1977, and my brother then started after he left school in 1988. I followed in 1993. My sister also works in the business as a cleaner. 

“Now we have the next generation, my daughter and two nephews on board.”

Over the past five years, the company has increased its role in the recycling area, recognising the industry’s growing importance to businesses, governments, and a sustainable future for populations.

The company has always composted pine bark on-site for nurseries and a range of other customers for potting mixes, but in 2012 it began a partnership to buy a compost site at Interlaken in Tasmania’s midlands.

The company recognised the increase in green and food waste being buried in landfill and saw a real need for more compost to be produced given the increase in demand. All of this has led to Barwicks processing FOGO waste from southern Councils and an array of other businesses, including the foodservice industry.

“Barwicks feels strongly about recycling, FOGO and green waste. It is important for our business to continue selling bulk wholesale and retail to keep up with demand. Even compared to five years ago, more businesses are aware of the need to reduce, reuse and recycle. It has become an important part of operations in both the public and private sectors. Both the federal and state governments are also helping with the Recycling Modernisation Fund for recycling investments,” Tyronn said.

Several Councils in Tasmania have already adopted a residential Food Organics, Garden Organics (FOGO) kerbside collection service, as planned by Brighton Council in October this year. Household food waste is the largest source of food waste in Australia and has become a real focus for governments.

When food and garden waste rots in landfill, it creates harmful greenhouse gases, takes up space and increases the need for larger landfills. In contrast, food and garden waste collected by a FOGO service is turned into compost and used to improve the soil health of Tasmania’s gardens and farms.

Brighton Municipality is fortunate to have Barwicks based in the community eliminating transport costs and providing a new state-of-the-art sorting facility for FOGO.

“FOGO will be delivered to our Bridgewater FOGO sorting facility, weighed then decontaminated and finally shredded, ready to be transported to Interlaken for composting in windrows. After about 14 weeks, we screen the compost to a 12mm minus. Presently, we add all the FOGO compost to a premium garden mix, but we are looking at increasing our compost sites to be able to sell the compost as a separate product,” Tyronn said.

Farmers and gardeners are increasingly thinking about the need to get carbon back into soils. Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps soil its water-retention capacity, structure, and fertility. 

In the future, Barwicks wants more compost sites to meet the increased demand and a greater focus on FOGO and food waste recycling, including a compost site with learning facilities for school programs.

Barwicks processed more than 11,000 tonnes of FOGO waste last financial year, which equates to 11,000 tonnes that could have ended up in landfill. Those figures make the introduction of a FOGO service an obvious choice.