Picture of Ron Gilchrist, Arne Ahlstrom and Donald John Campbell feeding Big  HannaAn innovative recycling scheme being piloted at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig on Skye could soon be adopted by communities throughout Scotland. That was the message from Mr Arne Ahlstrom of Sweden when he joined representatives from The Western Isles, Skye & Lochalsh LEADER+ Programme and the Broadford Environmental Group at the College to watch the recycling process in action.

The new scheme, which turns catering waste into top quality organic fertiliser, aims to reduce the volume of waste sent by the College to land sites by half by the end of next year.

An integral part of the process is Mr Ahlstrom's food-composting machine, Big Hanna, which converts all manner of food waste, including meat, bones and fish, into a highly nutritional, additive-free compound that can be used to nourish fruit, vegetables and flowers. Two vermiculture units (worm boxes) and a custom-built cardboard shredder are also being used in the project and work is underway to build a polytunnel, where project manager Donald John Campbell expects to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs which will be used in the College kitchens.

Mr Ahlstrom hopes that other areas will benefit from the knowledge gained from the pilot project; "I'm very impressed with what has been achieved at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and how the project is being adapted here in Skye. I would like to see communities in Sweden and Scotland coming together and exchanging ideas on developing community composting in rural areas."

Picture of  representatives from Western Isles, Skye and Lochalsh LEADER+ Programme and Broadford Environmental Group viewing Big HannaIncreasing use of composting equipment of this kind would reduce the amount of waste being transported on the area's roads, cut disposal costs and provide more soil-improving additive for local gardeners and farmers.

Alan Duffield of Broadford Environmental Group sees great potential in the project; "It was very interesting to see how the recycling scheme operates and to meet with so many people who care about composting. We were much encouraged after our visit today and would be very keen to develop a community composting scheme in the village of Broadford."

The scheme is funded by the Highland Council and the Western Isles, Skye and Lochalsh LEADER+ Programme, with in-kind contributions from Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. Anyone interested in finding out more about the project or in working with Broadford Environmental Group to take forward a community composting scheme should contact Claire Hannah, LEADER+ Field Officer, at Skye & Lochalsh Enterprise on 01478 612 184.

Read an article from the Press & Journal about the project: Skye Cashes in on 'Black Gold' from Worms