Worms wriggle aside for a bigger task
  • Thursday 05 June 2014

Sometimes, a job is just too big for a worm – so you have to find other answers.

That’s what faced Worms Down Under (WDU) directors Dr Paul Harrey and Dr Pene Mitchell, as organisations with large scales of waste sought ways to sustainably and economically process their waste.

But WDU prevailed – and has scored a semi-final berth in the national Australian Technologies Competition as a result.

“We’ve had so many people coming to us from mining companies, universities, councils and other clients with bulk organic waste,” Dr Mitchell said.

“Worms are fantastic for the smaller operations such as offices, cafes, households, and schools – but processing tonnage of waste with worms becomes an agricultural operation.

“Big organisations want to throw their waste in one end and get compost out the other – ­ so we have developed the OSCA (On-Site Composting Apparatus), an automated, aerobic composting technology designed for on-site management of organic waste.

“OSCA processes food waste, agricultural waste, compostable packaging, paper and cardboard, manure, and green waste into safe, stable, high quality compost – and it’s loaded in one end and finished compost ejected from the other within 10 - 14 days,” Dr Mitchell said.

The nine-year-old company has generated a legendary name for its worm farm technology, but is now adding bigger projects to its armoury.

Sunshine Coast Council economic development portfolio councillor, Stephen Robinson, said Dr Mitchell and her company were doing great things in the field of clean technology on the Sunshine Coast.

“This type of technology is meeting contemporary demand head-on, and WDU is to be congratulated,” he said.

“It reflects our goal to become Australia’s most sustainable region – and I am looking forward to Pene and Paul travelling south to pick up a finalist award in the competition.”

WDU is one of 36 semi-finalists chosen from a field of 228 contenders nationally.

An awards event will take place in September, where category winners – and an overall winner – will be announced in Sydney.