Clarence Street gets a wriggle on recycling

The team at Clarence Street, Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane, are celebrating National Recycling Week (12 to 18 November) with their pet composting worms!

The worms took up residence at Clarence Street in July, as part of the centre's commitment to partnering with staff and young people to reduce the centre’s environmental impact.

Residential Support Worker Shannon Fletcher has taken on the role of primary carer for the worms.

“It’s been really interesting to learn how worm farming works. I collect the fruit and vegetable food scraps from our residential unit, chop them up and put them in the top of the worm farm. The worms eat the scraps and then poop them out,” Shannon said.

“Then comes the exciting part! Their excrement accumulates as a liquid known as ‘worm tea’ in the bottom tray. I collect the worm tea via the tap on the bottom layer of the worm farm and water the plants with it. It’s a good fertiliser.

“We’re happy that we’re reducing food wastage at the same time as helping the environment, as fruit and vegies that are put in your normal rubbish end up in landfill, where they emit methane—a powerful greenhouse gas—as they decay.”

The worm farm is housed in Clarence Street’s residential program, which supports young people aged 13 to 18 years in safely withdrawing from alcohol and other drugs.

“A worm farm isn’t part of a typical detox program, but we’re finding it a beneficial experience for a number of our young people,” Shannon said.

“Some of the young people just want to look, but others really get involved. They collect their food scraps, chop it up, feed the worms, collect the worm tea and water the plants with it.

“It helps to keep them busy, which I think is particularly helpful when their cravings kick in. When they seem like they’re struggling a bit, I just take them down to the worm farm.”

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