Subpod eco-entrepreneur is making composting cool

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Not wanting to limit itself to the classic sustainability folk, Allan said that Subpod aims to reach out to customers in all kinds of living conditions – from apartments and houses to farms.

The way a Subpod unit works is that food waste is put into the compost unit where worms and microbes break it down. Ventilation on the side of the system is designed to keep it smell-free while the food is breaking down, and the broken-down compost can then be used as an organic fertiliser for plants.

The Subpod unit is an in-ground compost system and worm farm. Credit:Subpod

“We’re trying to create something that works with the natural processes that are already in place. Nature has done 3.8 billion years of research and development work on how to turn organic matter and waste into a resource,” Allan said.

Since launching, Subpod has released a range of products in different sizes that can be installed in different environments, whether it’s a garden bed, grow bag or a planter.

“We released a balcony model earlier this year, called ‘modbed’, which is on wheels with one of our Subpod mini systems in the middle, so that will allow yo to compost up to 10 kilograms of food waste a week when it’s up and running, and grow some plants around the outside.”

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Although there aren’t any current models for people who don’t have a balcony or outdoor space, Allan said that the team are working on the next generation of products, and are hoping to launch something suitable for indoors in the next 24 months.

With ambitious plans to grow the business into Europe, and wheels already in motion for a warehouse to be established in the Netherlands, Allan said that global demand for eco-friendly solutions to waste was driving Subpod’s expansion.

“For example, California has brought in a composting mandate where food waste has to be separated and composted rather than disposed of in landfill,” said Allan, who hopes that such initiatives will make their way to Australia.

Australia’s National Waste Policy Action Plan aims to halve the amount of organic waste sent to landfill by 2030, but this process needs to be accelerated, said Allan.

“The intentions around the FOGO (food organics and garden organics) regulations are great…but we can’t wait until 2030 to have that happening. By composting your own food waste on-site, you can be moving that goal a lot closer.”

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