Do you feel bad about how much waste goes into your bin each day or each week? Food scraps, cardboard, tissues, paper bags, vacuum dust, or yellowing plant leaves… All these little bits add up and end up in landfill; and as they break down, produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
While we can’t completely cut out landfill, there are things we can do to help reduce our impact. Compost is one of the easiest ways to help lessen the load and you can set up a compost system, no matter how big or small your space. All those things listed above – food, tissues, vacuum dust – can be composted. But let’s stop talking trash and start talking compost.
While it’s not technically a compost bin, this clever little system allows you to add ALL your food waste. And I mean, all. This includes raw or cooked meat and seafood, dairy, cooked foods, fruit and vegies, and bread. Most of these ‘ingredients’ – aside from fruit and veggies – are not typically added to compost bins, so it’s great to be able to do this in the Bokashi
The system relies on microbes to ferment your waste. You sprinkle or spray them every time you add scraps. The contents do not break down like they would in a compost bin, but the fermented waste can then be added to your compost bin or buried in the garden to help finish the process. This method helps accelerate the composting process – you’ll find that
the fermented waste breaks down faster than regular scraps.
There’s also a tap for you to drain the Bokashi juice, a highly concentrated nutrient water that can be diluted (1-part juice: 100-parts water) and added to your house plants or garden.
This is where the magic happens! But before you begin, you will need a backyard, garden or a small dirt patch for the bin. There are a couple of different types of bins to choose from, including the traditional Gedye bins or tumblers. Regardless of what form you go with; the most important thing is to ensure you ‘feed’ it with the right balance of ingredients. Compost bins need a mix of nitrogen-rich “greens” like kitchen scraps, aged manure, and fresh garden clippings, and carbon-rich “browns” like cardboard, dried garden clippings or paper.
Every time you add green waste, you need to add brown waste. Ensure you layer the materials, like a lasagne. I like to always top my compost bin with a dry layer of cardboard or newspaper and finish it by giving it a good spray of water. Microbes need a moist environment to thrive, otherwise, nothing will break down. They also need oxygen, so turn
the compost every couple of weeks with a fork or compost aerator.
This is ideal if you have a shady or protected spot on your balcony or garden. Worms are little eating machines and once they’re well established, they can consume up to 3-4 kg of food each week! You can add various kitchen scraps – avoid large quantities of meat, dairy and citrus – and chop them up into small pieces, if possible. It makes digestion a lot easier for our wriggly friends.
Sprinkle compost or some dry matter over the top of the food scraps and cover the whole lot with a hessian blanket or similar. They like to be kept in a moist environment. You can collect the nutrient-rich castings and ‘worm-wee’ and add them to the garden. Be sure to dilute the wee though as it’s potent! Use 1-part worm wee: 9-parts water.