19 May 2006

Website keeps secrets about composting workshop - New Zealand

I found this article [see below] about an upcoming composting workshop in New Zealand. I like to go to the source of the news item whenever possible, so I took spin on the web.

When I found the Hawkes Bay Regional Council's website "composting" was not listed in the Waste section. Huh?! Composting not mentioned in waste? That's how they do it in Christchurch and where I live too. I hunted around a bit looking for clues. It was not going well.

Eventually, I had to search the site using the word "compost", which led me to the Home page - I thought that was an error - until I saw the third box from the top of the middle column that says: "Free Community Compost Workshops." No, I did not feel silly; I was frustrated. And this is why:

Take a look at the main menu bar along the top. I went to the Waste section first. The closest match I could find to a workshop was Waste Education which leads to a page called Environment Education. There is a link in the word "community". Guess where it goes: the Home page!! Until I noticed the announcement, I thought it was a programming error. Maybe it is.

Okay, so the link works. Great!! Now, I'm going to work backwards. The workshops are listed under Environment Education [look at the menu tree on the left side of the page - it is not part of the Waste section anymore] in an area called Community. If clicking the "community" link had brought me to that page, I would have felt a lot better. But, even on that page the composting workshop is not listed!!. Looking only at the left menu tree, I had to click one more time to finally get to the page I wanted.

Not a user friendly web design.

Hawkes Bay Today

Composting secrets uncovered



The Beauty of Compost Heaps - isn't an avant-garde art competition entry, but Marion Thomson's view of a working, waste-reducing heap.

To Mrs Thomson, co-ordinator of the Environment Centre HB, putting anything organic into a compost heap rather than a landfill is "the supreme environmental act".

Wipe out Waste and the Sustaining Hawke's Bay Trust have organised workshops where people can learn about composting.

Many people did not know that 45 percent of the average household rubbish bag could be composted, she said.

"If everyone with the facilities had their own compost heap, worm farm or bokashi bucket system working, we could reduce landfill use tremendously and also avoid burying valuable nutrients and trace minerals so deep in the ground to be of any use at all."

Dominic Salmon, waste minimisation officer at the Hastings District Council, said 26 percent of the average rubbish bag was food waste, 19 percent was garden material, and 23 percent paper.

Some people think composting is old-fashioned, but Mr Salmon said "it doesn't have to be hard work".


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