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Frequently Asked Questions
Why Cirque du Soil?
What does Cirque du Soil stand for?
Cirque du Soil stands for “Circular Soil”, Melbourne’s first hyperlocal and circular food waste recovery program and advocacy for urban composting in cities. We’re a little bit different in that we’re all about the soil, and our mission is to reduce and divert organic food waste going to landfill from inner city Melbourne Precincts and Apartments. After all, your food waste is your future food!
Why do you do what you do?
Not every council has a FOGO program, and for those who don’t have one yet – your food waste is destined for landfill. We’re composting enablers who want to make food waste diversion accessible to everyone living in inner city Melbourne.
I already have a compost at home, why do I need this?
Traditional household composters don’t process meat, bread, seafood, cheese as these attract vermin. We love a good worm composter (we own some too!) but worms can be finicky little wigglers and have a picky diet. Our composting program is also designed more for commercial precincts and a 24 hour turnaround time to cope with higher volumes.
How do I benefit from joining Cirque du Soil?
Reduce waste to going to landfill – Landfill poses detrimental impacts to the environment including leachate, which can find its way into groundwater systems. Less waste going to landfill will extend the life of existing landfills and reduce the number of landfills required.
Reduce Greenhouse Gases – Greenhouse gases are produced by materials (including organic waste) in landfill. Methane generated by land filling of organic waste is detrimental as a green house gas. The carbon dioxide from aerobic composting is considered to be part of the normal biogenic cycle;
Facilitate growth in other recycling – Food waste takes up a large proportion of your general waste bin. The implementation of a food organics recycling system would reduce the amount of general waste you have and also make it clearer which other materials are suitable and could additionally be recycled. For example you might also be throwing away high volumes of paper/cardboard which can now easily be segregated. Not to mention, source separating can actually be fun!
Help Council rates from increasing – Many councils are inundated by growing waste streams with our disposable plastic lovin’ culture of convenience. Some of our local councils’ FOGO (Food and Organics) programs are still being planned and not quite in implementation phase. We aim to alleviate their current infrastructure by making it easier for any community to access and participate in a precinct community compost collective.
How are you different from other waste recovery services?
Well, we’re not garbos. We’re predominantly female led (with one token male!) and designers and placemakers first, with a hybrid knowledge of the built environment, community engagement, social/environmental impact and waste issues. We codesign solutions with our composting members and building community dialogues around zero waste.
We’re totally hyperlocal which means we stick to net zero carbon emission goals by keeping travel times at a minimum, and move within a small radius where we run fertiliser drop offs to an awesome network of local community gardens, compost hubs and community spaces, to regenerate local soil.
What do you do with your profits?
As a social enterprise, we have pledged to use half of our profits to supporting local community garden and farming initiatives, building more compost hubs in Melbourne, and establishing more circular urban food systems.
How are you dealing with COVID-19?
There’s no rest for the wicked in the world of waste. When needed, we operate as a contactless service and will take all considered measures to reduce risks of any COVID-19 transmissions. We will usually check with our members as individual situations may change. This means hand sanitation (it’s a messy business anyway) and masks on if we need to enter your premises, and all safety precautions are taken for safe social distancing.
Can I have a contactless pickup?
Totes! The safety of our compost collective members, colleagues and the entire community is of the utmost importance to us. With COVID-19, restrictions are changing all the time and we’re always keeping up to date with government and state legislations.
If we re-enter any further lockdowns (boo), our ops team will place your new bucket on your doorstep or front porch or rear of hospo kitchen. If you’re not there or you’re self-isolating and unable to open the door, the bucket will be left in a safe place as per normal COVID safety protocols. You’ll need to ensure your food waste bucket for exchange is in the safe space specified in your pick- up instructions.
Please note that pick up instructions must be updated before your cut-off point (at midday, three days before delivery). After this we are unable to make any changes to your pick up order.
I hear you're getting a new processing facility and 120L bins, when is this happening?
We currently operate our subscription service with 20L buckets, but we need a lot of support to shake up the traditional waste ecosystem as you can imagine! Our local council is supporting us to scale up in 2021, so we can expand our pick up range to include 120L bins. This will make the program more affordable for members and increase our environmental impact. (We secretly want to rival landfill prices so our service would be a community no brainer).
If you’re a Yarra precinct hospo trader waiting for larger bins, sign up to our pledge campaign here and we’ll let you know when they land.
What else do you do?
We also consult on waste minimisation with your business and run research on circular food waste management systems with building professionals – if you’re a property developer or property manager, more information on those services here.
Join Cirque du Soil
How do we work?
We’re decentralising food waste management in a circular economy framework designed to help inner city communities compost with a subscription pick up service. Your food waste gets processed locally with high volume composting technology within a 5-10km radius, which gets distributed to regenerate local soil or act as a composting accelerant for compost hubs, meanwhile reducing carbon emissions unlike those big trucking companies you see jamming up our crowded streets!
Where do your services operate?
We’re growing fast! We’re currently serving City of Yarra and a handful of inner suburbs in Melbourne, but aiming to make our way towards the CBD and other surrounding areas.
- 3053 – Carlton
- 3054 – Carlton North
- 3065 – Fitzroy
- 3066 – Collingwood
- 3067 – Abbotsford
- 3068 – Clifton Hill / Fitzroy North
If your postcode isn’t listed, sign up for our mailing list and keep in the loop for when we open new service areas.
What can I expect when I sign up?
We’ll send you your personal service quote specific to your home or business needs and we’ll need to get it signed and accepted before we can get you started. We’ll need a security deposit before dropping off your bucket/s which covers our basic cost of producing it, which includes: Administration, Review of your services and Bucket usage. We’ll also allocate a preferred pick up day and time as per who’s already joined in your neighbourhood compost collective. Once you receive your 20L bucket/s to your premises, subscription and pick up starts the following week.
What are your payment methods?
We’re a subscription service where you are automatically charged monthly via Stripe and our system will send you a scheduled invoice closer to the date of payment to let you know when it happens. We do also offer account terms to eligible businesses. You’ll be able to cancel at any point.
What do you charge?
Residents and Non Food Businesses
Pricing for 2021 will be released shortly. Please contact the team for a quote. We’re a compost collective so if more of your local neighbours (residents or businesses) join the collective, the more we can share costs to lower our fees. (Think share housing bills, for shared food waste)
Cafes / Restaurants / Food Businesses
With the higher volumes of food waste, we offer volume discounts. However it’s our goal to help you reduce the amount of food waste you create. Flick us an email for a free waste audit and a quote at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why does it cost more to pick up a single bucket vs my local cafe?
We offer volume discounts to cafes/restaurants and events as the amount of food waste produced due to the nature of hospitality, and to keep it affordable. A single residence or office produces far less, and we have to keep pricing fair value to keep our pick up operators on a living wage! If cost is of a concern, we incentivise members to create their own compost collective with their neighbours to share some buckets and lower costs!
How do I share buckets with neighbours to make up a compost collective and get a volume discount?
We make this easy for you based on how many buckets you need and who’s in your collective – we can divide up the collective cost and split it between your neighbours in a recurring subscription for zero stress! It’ll take more than 3 buckets to get a volume discount.
Subscription, Collection and Pickup Info
What happens if my bucket gets lost/damaged/stolen?
There will be a replacement fee for your bucket which is really just the base cost of what it costs us to produce it. We think that it’s highly unlikely someone would want to steal a bucket of food waste, as opposed to a wagyu burger from uber eats!
What happens if I move and need to cancel my subscription?
There’s no cancellation cost if you’re moving or feel like you don’t need a subscription anymore. People move because that’s what they do! Just email us when you need to do this, we’ll sort the rest.
How can I pause my subscription?
Send us an email (email@example.com) or message us through our Contact page and we can do that for you. Let us know in advance for when you’ll be on pause.
How do I track my pick-up?
It’s not uber eats so we don’t expect our compost members to be watching any apps during our ops runs! Our composting program is designed to be set and forget – you’re allocated a day and time range and we’ll be there, rain, hail or shine.
What if no one’s home for pick up?
No problem! Lots of people aren’t home when we’re out on our rounds. After all, we’re busy.
On your sign up subscription, an allocated pick up spot would be chosen by you and you can leave the bucket out on your front porch/street premise/foyer as agreed on your service agreement. We prefer for you to ring us if the location is permanently changed and to keep it accessible for our drivers!
An unsuccessful service is an instance where we are unable to complete collection through no fault of Cirque du Soil, and as a result the service charge will be applied to your account and we will contact you to reschedule. It is easy to avoid this charge by simply making your bins available for collection on your service day, at the agreed location and not contaminated, overloaded, blocked or locked.
What if my bucket hasn't arrived?
We work very hard with our ops team to ensure that every bucket makes it to you on your allocated swap out day. If your bucket has not arrived to your designated address on the day, please let us know and we will launch an investigation with the ops team member in charge of your consignment.
Compost, Bucket and Food Waste Info
What can I put into my food waste organics container?
We take all organic material including your usual suspects: fruit and veg, meat and small bones, carbs, teabags, coffee grounds, shells (shellfish and eggs), and even dried flowers. You can even give us avocado pits, paper towels, shredded paper, fallen leaves!
We won’t take big bones, cooking oil, cardboard, twigs and branches, plastic bags, glass, metal cans, glass, glossy paper, animal poo or anything chemical laden. This is after months of hard research, and we’ve selected the very best composter that can reduce the most landfill waste yet ensure an output of quality nutrient rich output to make compost.
Can I use degradable / biodegradable / compostable bin liners?
We can take (some) biodegradable or compostable bags in our program, as directed by our food recycling machine partners, but we recommend you leave these out in general as biodegradable/compostable bags can result in loads being rejected and incurring additional repair costs. Your fresh bucket is bag-free so less is more in our campaign for zero-waste.
Why do you have a compost-it shop?
We’re focusing on our composting program scale up so we’ve held off on the Compost-It shop until Nov 2021. We recognise there are multiple barriers and challenges to composting inner city, such as lack of garden space or balcony for a composter. Even kitchen caddies just aren’t that hot on your kitchen counter either, so we source the best composting-enabling gear that will be fit for purpose, look good and keep those pesky flies out. Basically, we want everyone to be able to keep food waste out of landfill, by any means. The more we can compost, the better!
Where does my food waste bucket go?
We travel a short distance (less than 5km) to our local processing centre where we get your food waste processed within a 24 hour period. It gets dehydrated into high nutrient pre-compost and we use it as fertiliser for green spaces in your area or local community gardens to break down further into compost.
Where does my organic waste go?
We process your food waste locally in City of Yarra and redistribute the high nutrient fertiliser to local community gardens, residential community composting collective members and urban agri-projects to encourage urban communities to create more edible gardens. If you’re a urban ag project, comunity garden or compost hub keen to become a beneficiary, get in touch with us!
Can I get some Cirque du Soil fertiliser?
If you’re a member, you sure can. It won’t be a 24 hour turn around time but you can opt in for some in your swapped out bucket for your garden. Just ask us! At the end of 2021, we’ll be offering fertiliser to non-Cirque du Soil composting members, which will be purchasable it on our compost shop here.
How do I use the Cirque du Soil fertiliser?
Dilute with a ratio of 1:10 (9 parts soil to 1 part fertiliser) as it’s powerful stuff! We like to mix it up with some traditional compost and organic soil. Get ready for some very happy plants!