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    Saving the Earth - one Loo at a time

     
       

    Best job, worst job
    By ANNA BUCK, Bega District News, Tuesday, 21 March 2006

    RUNNING their fingers through a kilogram (or three hundred kilograms) of live, wriggling earthworms is par for the course for Kym Mogridge and Gerri Taylor of Tathra.

    They have a great respect for the earthworm and the good it and its casts do the environment.

    Through their interest in earthworms and the environment there was a natural progression to dealing in composting toilets, and toilet talk is the norm when Kym gets together with owner builders who are interested in installing composting toilets.

    It all started a decade ago when Kym went to a neighbour's garage sale and came away with a broccoli box of worms, left over from an attempt at worm farming.

    "Those are the only worms I've ever bought," he said.

    "I got them home, did some research and then made a worm farm out of Gerri's little garden bed.

    "In three months it was filled up with worms."

    There was a great deal of interest in vermiculture at the time, and Kym ended up in a worm farming co-operative through the Sapphire Coast Producers Association's auspices.

    "We went all right for a little while," he said.

    "Basically, it's very difficult to have a viable worm farming enterprise. It's like the ostrich and emu ventures of the same era where everyone made money selling the birds and their eggs.

    "Once everyone had bought all the birds and eggs they were going to buy there was no further market for them, and it's like that with worms.

    "The industry of worm farming is waste management and the product is worm casts."

    Kym and Gerri found themselves in the process of educating people to recycle waste, which led on to composting toilets.

    Kym was researching worm farms around NSW and during a trip to the Mittagong area met a man marketing a worm-driven composting toilet system.

    His interest was sparked and he negotiated a dealership that lasted for almost five years then he got an agency with another company.

    Kym deals predominantly with owner-builders with whom he has a rapport as he has twice been an owner-builder himself.

    To say that he sells them a composting toilet is not accurate - rather, a lengthy discussion takes place.

    If the composting toilet is really what they are looking for, they buy it from Kym.

    "When I sell one I want the people who own it to understand what they're getting.

    "If they want to feel green and fuzzy but don't realise it won't have a button to push, and that they're going to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with their own waste, then I'd rather not sell it to them.

    "Most owner-builders have a passion and involvement with building and how it's going to work.

    "I find owner-builders intrinsically interesting and get just as much from talking to them as they do from me."

    The pair received national news coverage when they came up with worm burgers as a way of drawing attention to the value of the earthworm.

    While it is not on their menu, they maintain that worms are a really good protein source, high in omega three and fatty acids.

    Their work is their passion and an integral part of their lifestyle.

    "We're doing a little bit to educate and provide a service, showing people how they can reuse and recycle more," Kym said.

    "I have this image that one day we will run out of everything and then we will have to start mining our garbage tips, because there are no more resources left."

    "It's our effort at maintaining a little sustainability in the world."

     

    AND HERE IS SOME FOOD (or water) FOR THOUGHT
    (source http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200607/s1676569.htm )

    Microbiologist urges recycled water attitude shift.
    A Queensland researcher says there is nothing wrong with drinking recycled water when it is treated properly.

    The current drought has highlighted the issue of alternative water supplies.

    Microbiologist Dr Megan Hargreaves says people oppose the idea because they do not know enough about it.

    "The concept of drinking recycled waste water is just that step to far," she said.

    "That's where I think the education needs to come in that perhaps people need to see that no-one's saying that they should go to a recycling plant and drink the water from the pipes there.

    "What we're saying is that that water would be then treated to a level where it would be safe to drink."

    Dr Hargreaves believes Queenslanders should be more open-minded about the different solutions to the water crisis.

    "Brisbane at the moment up to now has had a bit of a luxury sort of water quality in that we use drinking water standard water for everything," she said.