Mt Eden Corrections Facility
A total of 200 hungry bin worm farms and 12 vegetable gardens has allowed Mt Eden Corrections Facility (MECF) operators Serco to compost organic waste on site and save more than $200,000 per year in the process.
"We are working with staff and prisoners to shape behaviour and improve our recycling," says MECF Director Gareth Sands. The hungry bins process around 200kg of food scraps daily, and the fertiliser they produce is used to grow vegetables and herbs.
The project has led to clear environmental outcomes with half the number of skip bins sent to landfill. Prisoners using the system gain valuable skills and experience in waste separation and handling, composting and gardening.
It's the only one of its kind in a prison in New Zealand and was a winner in the Environment Ministry's Green Ribbon Awards in 2014.
But it's not just about benefiting the environment. Prisoners are also learning valuable skills that will help them lead constructive lives once they leave, project leader John Moore says.
"It teaches them a lot of life skills like time management. "And they're learning to feed themselves if not their families. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that," he says.
Only a small number of prisoners are able to take part in the popular initiative, Moore says. They've been able to grow herbs, broccoli, salad vegetables and even chillies in the garden.
Using the outputs produced by the hungry bins to produce food ensures that the valuable nutrients contained in the food waste are not lost to the environment. Fresh greens are delivered to the kitchen, creating additional cost savings for the prison.