We need to talk about composting. It’s not a sexy or fashionable topic but it is important.
I’ve been composting my food scraps for about four years now.
It was one of the first steps I took towards living greener admittedly by accident and only because hubby decided we needed one for the garden waste, the food waste followed organically.
We started with a portable outdoor bin from Bunnings (this one) because we lived in a rental property and needed to be able to take it with us when we move around.
I started by keeping food scraps in a small ice cream container on the kitchen bench but found myself trudging out to the bin 2-3 times a day so we invested in an indoor solution as well.
Before I talk about the how’s lets discuss the why.
WHY SHOULD WE COMPOST?
A whopping 62% of Australian landfill consists of food waste.
Let that digest for second.
When food accumulates in landfills, it begins to decompose, it’s then broken down by bacteria through anaerobic digestion which means there’s not enough oxygen reaching all the food waste. Without oxygen to facilitate the decaying process the food waste begins to produce methane a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
The simple act of composing can have an enormous positive impact on the health of our planet and it’s so easy to do.
I COMPOST USING A BOKASHI
Bokashi is the Japanese word for fermented organic matter.
It’s an indoor composting bin, small enough to sit on your kitchen bench, which transforms food waste into a nutrient-rich fertiliser.
We brought the Maze Bokashi because it was available at a local store but, you can use any brand you like, they all do essentially the same thing.
The secret is the microbe friendly spray which comes with the Bokashi and you can purchase separately once it runs out.
Each time you place scraps the Bokashi bin, you spray the scraps 2-3 times, which begins a fermentation process. Your food is basically pickling inside the bucket creating highly acidic conditions (pH of 3.5 – 4.5) which means no smell, no pests and no methane.
What I love is that you can put all kinds of scraps in the bucket, vegetables, fruit, dairy, bread, meat, coffee etc.
The Bokashi has a small drain on the front where you can drain the liquid which accumulates the bottom of the bin. This is a nutrient rich fertiliser you dilute with water and can use for your houseplants or in the garden.
When the Bokashi is full I tip the scraps into the the large barrel bin outside.
If you don’t have an outdoor compost bin you can bury the waste.
BURYING BOKASHI WASTE
Dig a hole or trench approximately 20-25cm deep. Add the Bokashi waste and mix in some soil. Cover the waste completely with soil. Now forget about it – there’s nothing else to do! Your soil has begun to be enriched on a microbial level.
For established gardens, dig the hole around plants or between rows of trees.
Be sure the roots of very young plants do not come into direct contact with the compost as it may burn them. The compost is acidic when first dug in, but neutralises after 7-10 days. It is best to wait 2 weeks before planting.
If you don’t have room to dig a hole every time your bucket needs emptying, you can create a Bokashi compost heap, burying the waste in a regular spot in your garden. Once the waste has completely broken down, use it as a rich top-soil.
Easy as that!
Do you own a Bokashi or compost at home or work? Share your suggestions and composting tips in the comments.
Kira Simpson is an environmentalist and sustainability educator. She started The Green Hub in 2015 and has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest education platforms dedicated to helping people live a more sustainable life, talking about the big environmental issues like climate change, plastic pollution, and fast fashion – showing people how they can have an impact through their own small daily actions and how to be part of the bigger environmental movement.