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THE DIRT ON YOUR DIRT

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A community science participation program at Macquarie University offers soil metal testing for would-be vegetable growers who want to make sure their soil is free of contaminants before they start planting into it.

Dubbed VegeSafe, the program aims to inform growers about metal and metalloid contaminants in their garden soil and provides participants with both a formal report and, if contamination is high, advice on how to deal with the findings.

VegeSafe accepts soil samples from all over Australia, it is the only service of its kind in the country and, while it’s technically a free service, the university encourages people to send a donation in with the sample to support the work of the program.

For our feature on the remarkable work worms can do around your home, including breaking down soil contaminants, head to our in-depth feature starting on page 68.

DID YOU KNOW?

Plastic-based disposable face masks which offer higher protection than reusable fabric face coverings are now recyclable. Once received, Australian recycling firm TerraCycle quarantines the masks for eight weeks before processing them into low-grade plastic pellets, which are then used to manufacture products such as outdoor furniture.

Many councils have provided collection points for mask disposal.

Contact yours to find out where you can drop off surgical masks for recycling, or to encourage your council to support the initiative.

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WINNER WINNER!

Pip subscriber Carrie Easson is the lucky winner of our Tumbleweed giveaway which included two kits valued at $400, after taking out a print subscription.

‘I want to thank everyone at Pip and of course Tumbleweed for the awesome compost and worm farm! These will be a fabulous addition to our home,’ she said. As well as saving on the cover price, postage is free and you can take advantage of the many subscriber-only benefits.

GOLD BANKSIA AWARDED

A company hoping to eliminate polystyrene from packaging across the world’s supply chains has won this year’s Gold Banksia Award at the 33rd annual Banksia National Sustainability Awards.

Planet Protector Packaging took out the gong for its WoolPack product which is is currently being used in various temperature-sensitive packaging applications such as seafood and pharmaceuticals. The other benefit is that its production means wool waste otherwise destined for landfill gets given another life. As Pip went to print, the company had replaced over 7,200,000 polystyrene boxes with a WoolPack alternative, which adds up to 3500 tonnes of wool which hasn’t gone into landfill.

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PIP TIPS

This issue, we look at ways to help you use up those delicious and important preserves. Here’s author Jade Miles’ simple tips for effectively managing your stores of preserves. For some more tips and great recipes, turn to page 50.

1 – When making preserves, bottle some smaller quantities in recycled jars – they make excellent gifts.

2 – Always clearly label and date your preserves – it’s amazing how similar plum sauce and passata can look!

3 – To avoid having large open jars taking up room in the fridge, ensure the size of the vessel is appropriate for the preserve.

COLONISATION HAS DONE A LOT OF DAMAGE, BUT WE CAN UNDO THAT DAMAGE BY REVIVING THOSE THINGS THAT BRING CULTURAL HISTORY BACK ONTO COUNTRY

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Dave Widders is the spokesperson for the not-for-profit Aboriginal language group which has launched a crowdfunding campaign to purchase a plot of land on Anaiwan Country to provide a place for future generations to learn language and culture. To learn more about the project or to donate, head to www.chuffed.org/project/anaiwanlandbuyback.

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