Peats Soil receives and processes much of metropolitan Adelaide’s green organics from council kerbside and industrial collections, as well as food organics from businesses such as hotels, supermarkets, schools, office buildings, food processors and manufacturers.
Peter Wadewitz and his team developed the globally renowned BiobiN organic waste collection and on-site processing facilities to divert potentially useful products from being dumped into landfill. The breakdown of organic materials in landfill generates the potent greenhouse gas methane and produces potentially polluting leachate. From a climate perspective, diverting green waste from landfill has the largest impact of any solid waste component.
Peter has been the Managing Director of Peats Soil and Garden Supplies since 1974 and he is so well respected in his area of expertise, as well as being community and environmentally supportive, that he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2020.
“This is an unbelievable honour. I am blown away, it is something you never expect,” Peter said at the time in response to the award. “I just do what I do because I am so passionate about it. I have been involved in composting for 50 years. You have your head down and your tail up, because you believe in what you are doing.”
Peats Soil and Garden Supplies employs almost 100 people and is a family run company with a vision to be a world leader in sustainable and innovative organics recycling. For 45 years Peats have been processing and marketing recyclable organic resources, creating products for landscaping, garden and horticultural activities in South Australia where the business is based.
Converting waste organics into useful soil improvers has become a passion for Peter who estimates that more than 15 million tonnes of usable organic material is still being dumped into landfill in Australia every year.
“When you see compost going out onto farms and you see healthy soil and what it does for a plant, and what it does for micro and macro nutrients within a plant and the health of the plant, it is the most exciting thing,” Peter says.
Putting carbon back into the soil can have additional benefits other than curtailing pollution. Peter cites one farmer in NSW who has applied six tonnes of compost product per hectare for ten years and has built the soil carbon up from 0.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent and now uses less water and less fertiliser while growing healthier fruit and vegetables.
“We’ve also got vineyards that use 60 per cent less water than their neighbours because they are using organic matter in the topsoil,” he says.
Peats Soil and Garden Supplies operate from three depots located in the Adelaide suburbs of Willunga, Langhorne Creek and Dublin as well as at Whyalla. During 2021 Peats Soils expanded into Darwin, although their own trucks don’t run up the Sturt Highway with Mildura being the most distant regular destination. The trucks run regularly to Portland in Victoria as well as into NSW.