City of Whitehorse: Home composting and food waste avoidance program

The Home Composting and Food Waste Avoidance Trial was a 19 month project aimed to support 200 households in worm farming and composting. It encouraged food waste prevention behaviours, through the supply of equipment, educational support, and the creation of an online consultation hub. Households were required to report both the amount of waste sent to landfill each week as well as the amount of food waste diverted to compost or worm farms. They also completed a range of research and evaluation activities including focus groups, surveys, evaluation interviews, and recording their experiences on an online consultation hub.  


Social diffusion, spreading education messages through social networks, was a major aspect of the trial. This was incorporated through the active creation of an online community via the hub, the promotion of participants’ experiences to the broader community and the delivery of community leadership training.  

It was expected that households participating in the trial could divert at least 20 per cent of their household rubbish by weight. They diverted 38 per cent, nearly a 100 per cent increase on the target. Eight months after the end of the data collection period a post-trial survey revealed that respondents had, on average, increased the volumes they were composting each week from 9.4L per household (during the trial period) to 13.3L per household. Both these volume amounts are based on self-reported figures. During the trial households reported that 37,203L of food waste was diverted from landfill. This equates to a saving of $1,429.12 in landfill disposal costs during this time.

The project developed a range of educational materials and tools, which are all accessible to the general public and other practitioners via the City of Whitehorse's compost trial website. This site also hosts a range of research reports and evaluation materials, as well as participants’ collective anecdotes.

The trial demonstrated that a range of household types can reduce their waste to landfill by using home compost or worm farms and utilising food waste prevention behaviours. In terms of educational materials participants preferred to be supported by resources that can be “accessed at any time”. This suggests that the development and promotion of online resources such as the project website is the favoured form of support from Council.     

Read the full Project Case Study.

Sharing the learning with other councils was an important part of the project. This was facilitated by providing copies of the project tools and resources to inform home composting and food waste prevention content on the Foodwise website.

For more information about this project please contact the Waste Education Officer at the City of Whitehorse on (03) 9262 6333.

For more information about the Metro Fund contact metro.fund@mwmg.vic.gov.au or ph: 8698 9800.

Project resources:

  • Home Composting and Preventing Food Waste Trial - Whitehorse Case Study 2 MB

    This case study outlines the project background, methodology and results for the Whitehorse City Council Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The objective of this project was to reduce food waste to landfill through composting and worm farm infrastructure and behaviour change programs with residents.

  • Composting Information - Whitehorse Fact sheet 331 KB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet highlights how to set-up your kitchen and garden for effective composting practices.

  • Composting Information 2 - Whitehorse Fact sheet 2.5 MB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet highlights how to maintain your compost bin, and harvest and use compost .

  • Worm Farm Information - Whitehorse Fact sheet 340 KB

    This document was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet highlights how to set-up your kitchen and garden for effective worm farm practices.

  • Worm Farm Information 2 - Whitehorse Fact sheet 1.6 MB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet highlights how to maintain your worm farm, and harvest and use worm wee liquid.

  • Trial Kit Information - Whitehorse Fact sheet 944 KB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet aims to provide an overview of the trial and provides an overivew of the collateral involved in the program.

  • Freezer Storage - Whitehorse Fact sheet 253 KB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The chart aims to assist residents to store food correctly and use items before they expire in the freezer.

  • Fridge Storage - Whitehorse Fact sheet 237 KB

    This document was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The chart aims to assist residents to store food correctly and use items before they expire in the fridge.

  • Home Composting and Food Waste MF R2 Final Report - Whitehorse Report 1.5 MB

    This final report outlines the outcomes, findings, project highlights and recommendations for the Whitehorse City Council Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The objective of this project was to reduce food waste to landfill through composting and worm farm infrastructure and behaviour change programs with residents.

  • How to record your data - Whitehorse Fact sheet 747 KB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet aims to provide an overview of how to record data on each of the data sheets.

  • Kitchen Caddy Recording Sheet - Whitehorse Promotional item 216 KB

    This document was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The recording sheet is a template for identifying the amount of organic material in the kitchen caddy.

  • Menu Planner and Shopping List - Whitehorse Promotional item 200 KB

    This document was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The shopping list and menu planner aims to assist residents to plan meals to avoid purchasing excess food, and reducing food waste to landfill.

  • Pantry Storage - Whitehorse Fact sheet 266 KB

    This document  was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The chart aims to assist residents to store food correctly and use items before they expire in the pantry.

  • Rubbish Bin Recording Sheet - Whitehorse Promotional item 243 KB

    This document was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The recording sheet is a template for identifying the amount of rubbish in the rubbish bin.

  • Ethylene and Vegie Storage Bags - Whitehorse Fact sheet 467 KB

    This fact sheet was developed by Whitehorse City Council for the Metro Fund Round 2 'Home Composting and Food Waste Prevention Trial' project. The fact sheet highlights how to use ethylene and vegie storage bags to prolong the shelf-life of food and vegetables.

Last updated: 04/03/2016