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Seaweed: Reaping the benefits

Becoming part of the solution to the suburb’s seaweed problem. Altona Community Gardens member Peter Weaver obtained a permit from Hobsons Bay council last week to remove seaweed from the municipality’s coastline to use as garden fertiliser.

So far this financial year, the council has collected more than 1000 tonnes of seaweed. Most is sent to Wyndham landfill at a cost of $90.80 a tonne, plus GST and other costs. Mr Weaver said he collected about 400 kilograms of seaweed a year and put it directly on his garden about 20 centimetres thick.

“My garden has not looked better,” he said. “Microbes and worms feast on the seaweed and it doesn’t smell at all. People take pleasure in attacking the council over the seaweed and the council spends money to combat a natural phenomenon. The population of Hobsons Bay is about 85,000. If we each took 10 kilograms of seaweed a year, that would be 850 tonnes and a saving of $85,000 the council could spend in other areas.”

Councillor Sandra Wilson said members of the public were encouraged to collect seaweed from the beach to use on their gardens. “This is a fantastic example of grassroots environmental action and I’m sure their gardens will be grateful,” she said.

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