Members of 300 families in the Belgian municipality of Gooik no longer put their kitchen rubbish in the compost container or rubbish bin. Instead, they feed it to chickens they were able to buy at a discount. Schools and homes for the elderly participate as well.
Gooik is a large municipality, so refuse and compost collection routes are extensive and costly. For a different approach to the problem, the project ‘KUKELEKU’ was started eight years ago. A subsidy was made available to families to purchase chickens which they were to keep for at least one year. Since a chicken eats 150 grams of compostable refuse a day, three chickens can handle a whole family’s kitchen rubbish. Each chicken costs a family 3.50 euros; the other half is paid by the province of Vlaams-Brabant. The project is a big success, and not only because of the reduction in rubbish collection costs. There is an educational aspect to the project: children learn about the animals’ life cycle and how to care for them, and also about refuse issues. The chickens enliven gardens, schools and retirement homes. And of course there are fresh, quality eggs!