Frequently asked questions

What goes in the bucket?

The very basic idea is: if it's 'organic matter' we'll compost it. Having said that, some of you may want some more direction! If in doubt, ask us. 


Our YES list includes: 


  • fruit and vegetables, in any form, preferably chopped up into smaller pieces
  • leftovers and cooked foods
  • bread, rice, pasta - cooked. or uncooked

  • eggs or egg shells

  • Coffee and tea (tea bags OK, unless its the 'silk' or pyramid type - they are plastic)

  • onions and garlic
  • small pieces of paper
  • nuts, old spices
  • nuts, old spices
  • lentils, beans, etc
  • compostable bags and packaging PLEASE only if you have cut these into 1cm wide strips
  • cakes, biscuits
  • contents of vacuum cleaner (if mostly hair and dust)

No Thanks!

  • Anything plastic - including those little stickers on fruit - please remove them if you see them. 

  • large amounts of liquid

When do my buckets get collected?

We will confirm this with you upon registration. We aim to pick up on the same day as the council bin collection service. This way you don't have an extra day to remember.

As our community composters are volunteers, they may have a varied schedule and an exact time of pick is not available.

Can I have more than one bucket?

Yes! Assuming we have the buckets, and the capacity. Just talk to us.

Where should i leave my bin?

Please leave your bin beside your gate, in an obvious place. Do NOT leave next to other council bins as the bucket is small and may become damaged by the large bins.

What happens if I miss the pick up?

Don't panic! It is ideal that weekly pick up happens, however we all make mistakes. Simply send your composter a text (or your arranged mode of contact) and they will endeavour to pick up as soon as possible.  They will most likely have dropped a clean bucket for you anyway and can catch you the next week.

Alternatively, you can arrange to drop your bucket off to the composter directly.

Can I drop my bucket off?

Yes, simply negotiate with you local composter. YIMBY aims to be small scale and operating within your immediate neighbourhood.

What if I'm going away?

If you are going away, and you do not require your bucket to be picked up, please let you community composter know in advance

What happens to my compost?

What you give us will not yet be compost, it will be 'organic matter' that we will put into our compost system. We have developed small scale, 3 bay systems, enough to manage 10-20 households organic 'waste'. 


All buckets will be weighed before being added to our system, this way we can monitor how much we are putting in, and how much is coming out the other end.


We will add straw and other material to get the nitrogen to carbon ratio right, moisture as needed and other organic material, such as cow, horse or sheep manure - whatever we need to get our heaps cooking and breaking down quickly into yummy compost.

Our community composters are passionate about producing high quality compost, to cycle back into food and/or plant growing. The YIMBY team will support them with scientific expertise to ensure we are getting a good mix going and are cooking all harmful pathogens, whilst not producing greenhouse gases.

How do I stop my bucket smelling?

There are lots of ways to keep you bucket from getting smelly. 

  • Ensure you put your bucket out each week - we will collect and deliver a fresh bucket back to you

  • Add some shredded paper or folded newspaper (or other organic absorbent material) in the bottom of bucket to keep bucket fresh.
  • Keep the lid off the bucket (for plenty of oxygen and to aid evaporation)
  • When a bucket is full, store it in your refrigerator or freezer till collection, or in a cold place, out of sun.
Can I get some finished compost for my garden?

It's surprising how little useable compost is produced after all the buckets are collected and processed through the system!

Much of what comes to us will have a high water content, thus it will take many many buckets  of scraps to produce one bucket of useable compost!

There are all the inputs (straw, manure, moisture, care and attention), then the work of turning, monitoring and tending the piles. 

When all is said and done, what is produced will in the first instance be used by the composters.  

When the trial is over, we will have a good idea how much can be shared back to the community.

Can I help?

There is much heavy work to be done, as well as 'light' work. What help required will differ from site to site and will be relational, i.e. by talking with us and your composter.


Possible ways to help include: 

  • dropping off buckets to composter, rather than getting it picked up
  • turning the compost (about once per month)
  • sourcing other materials, like animal manure (not dot or cat - these do not compost well!)
  • write to the local paper, or council and tell them how much you love this system, and why
  • share your story with us, take photos of anything relevant and them to us

Why does my home compost take so long to break down?

A compost heap is much more than a pile of kitchen scraps in the corner of the garden (although even this will be digested by soil and worms eventually - but this is not ideal)

A compost heap needs a balance of four ingredients: carbon, nitrogen, air and water. If these elements are out. of balance, then the whole process is slowed down, worse still, can create methane (80 times more harmful than carbon dioxide (and can be very smelly!)

By creating a community compost solution, we can add larger amounts of materials together and get a pile 'cooking' more efficiently and effectively.

If you. are interested in doing better with your own compost, see our resources section.

What happens if I change my mind?

No problem! Just let us know, leave your bucket for us to pick up, and please give us some feedback. We are in genuine process of learning on the job. 

Who are YIMBY?

YIMBY are a team of passionate composters who have come together to trial a small scale system that can be demonstrated to divert organic 'waste' from landfill. 

We know that our council will be required to introduce a third bin system in the near future, which on the face of it is more 'sustainable' than the current system where many kitchen scraps go to landfill, we want to keep resources local and on a human scale.  

Our current team includes:


Lucy Young - The Hub Foundation - lives in Castlemaine with her family and is co-parenting two young people into adulthood and exploring possibilities for a sustainable future. Lucy has over 20 years experience in Community Development in Castlemaine, using skills acquired through a Bachelor of Social Work (RMIT) to bring an Action Research model to her approach to behaviour change projects. Lucy worked at the Castlemaine Community House for 15 years and was involved in many local projects. Growing Abundance was initiated and coordinated by Lucy in 2010 and continues to  support local food security  She is passionate about Non-Violent Communication and lives in deep gratitude for our natural environment.


Joel Meadows - The Green Hand institute - Joel Meadows is an environmental educator, energy auditor, building designer, sustainable transport consultant, illustrator, maker of things of steel and wood, grower, cooker and preserver of food, avid gardener and musician. Joel has studied Sculpture, Blacksmithing, Renewable Energy Technology and Permaculture, he has worked for private, government and not for profit organisations and runs the Green Hand Institute.


Bill GrantBill Grant has worked in the environmental and waste management field for over 20 years. With a background in agricultural and environmental science, Bill has multi-disciplinary and applied knowledge of ecology, economics, business management, sociology, town planning, communications, conflict resolution and systems thinking. Bill has extensive experience on projects ranging from waste audits and small business waste management plans through to detailed strategic analysis and planning, greenhouse risk assessment and environmental management systems development.


Penny Gilbert - The Hub Foundation and Cycle Safe - is a mother of two young children living in Campbells Creek, with a background in Outdoor and Environmental Education she enjoys being immersed in the natural environment. As a regular cyclist and founding member of CycleSafe Mount Alexander, Penny will often be found pulling plastic waste from roadsides. Penny has many years of experience in practicing a waste wise lifestyle starting at 17yo when she sewed her Mum calico bags for a present. Penny brings an enthusiastic optimism for our capacity to adapt to support a sustainable way of life.