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Containers cast in new role

A WA entrepreneur has found a way to make shipping containers, earthworms and compost mix.

Source Organics managing director John Walker is using old shipping containers to house cages of earthworms and create compost.

Organic waste is dropped off at the front of the containers housing the worms. The waste is fed to the worms via screw conveyors and worm castings are fed out the back of the container through another conveyor system.

Those worm casts are mixed with compost produced by rotating composters – also made from old shipping containers – to produce high-grade compost.

Mr Walker wants to set up a 24-container and 24-composter pilot plant.

He believes that plant will be able to process about 100 tonnes of organic waste a day – enough to service the needs of a municipality such as the City of Stirling.

The pilot plant will cost about $3 million to set up.

While the composters take up space, the ability of sea containers to be stacked means they can be stored in fairly small areas. The system is almost fully automated, reducing labour costs.

Because the system is fully enclosed and above ground, the buffer zones required by the Department of Environmental Protection are much smaller.

The whole idea began with a conversation Mr Walker had with a venture capitalist.

“He suggested if I could find a large-scale composting system he could find a way to fund it,” Mr Walker said.“The idea is to allow people to buy individual containers of earth worms.”

However, there is demand for just a single sea container of earthworms and a composter.

“The Ministry of Justice has indicated interest in buying a container for Casuarina Prison,” Mr Walker said.

The system also has attracted interest from organisations in Canada, South America, Europe and Singapore.

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