With about half of what we send to landfill being food scraps there’s got to be a better way, are Bokashi Bins the answer?

A while back we hit up a Compost Collective course and picked up some pretty handy tips to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce. It’s been great, instead of chucking food scraps in the trash (which means waaaay less trips up the driveway come rubbish night) we put them in a Bokashi Bin which is basically a bucket with a lid which you throw your kitchen waste in, chuck in a bit of this sawdust like stuff and close the top. Once it’s filled up you let it to brew for a month then dig it into your garden or add it to a regular compost bin.

Bokashi Bins are great if, like us, you’re living in a small house and are not able to utilise a full on compost bin which requires a decent amount of room. Another advantage is you can pretty much put whatever you like in them. We bought a pair of buckets (they come with the sawdust), using the discount we got doing the course and the lot set us back $88. It took us quite a while to fill the first one as each time you top it up you use a potato masher to squish it all down, it’s deceiving how much it holds. The idea is you fill one bin, then start using the second, once that one’s full you empty the first and start over.

So after months of cramming food into this thing and then leaving it to do its fermenting we were finally ready it open it up and what was inside was both fascinating and disgusting. The first thing that hit us was the stink, if done right it should smell like pickles… ours not so much, a bad smell is a sign it didn’t quite work. I’m not sure how exactly we mucked it up, not emptying the juices enough or perhaps because we let it ferment for way longer than the required four weeks. Either way we paid the price and so did our poor neighbours who were out on their deck… sorry guys!

 

The juices are actually pretty versatile and when opening this there was plenty to go around. You can use the collected run off to clean your drains, it’ll prevent algae build up and odour and it can also be used it in the garden diluted as a fertiliser.

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The smell wasn’t horrible considering this was a bucket of food scraps including fruit peels, vege cuttings, bread, chicken bones and meat off cuts were in there. It just wan’t that pleasant, I can’t quite put my finger on it but it was pungent, it sent Amanda running back inside.

It’s amazing how the food doesn’t actually break down, it’s like a time capsule for food waste, a diary of our summer dinners. There was A LOT of corn, from this you’d think we ate it every night.

 

We’ve got a little vege patch which our landlords were cool with us putting in, it’s about two square metres, made from macrocarpa and we’ve had reasonable success growing in it. There’s only two lonely broccoli stalks growing in there at the moment so it was a good spot for us to dispose into.

 

After tipping it out and poking through it with a spade, reminiscing about all those summer BBQs we had earlier this year the next thing to do was bury it, turning the soil over enough so that it was all hidden below the surface. When mixed with soil and covered it should take about three or four weeks for the scraps to decompose and become unrecognisable.

Now all that’s left to do it clean it out and start filling it up again as we’ve already filled the second one!