Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sustainable disposal

Auckland Council has been promoting a number of waste minimisation strategies in recent years, with an eye toward getting as close to zero waste as possible. Many of the solutions are easy, like recycling, some are more challenging, like planned changes to rubbish collection, and one is real work: Composting. But one of the compsoting systems they promote—Bokashi—is easier than many might think.

Sometime in the past few months, I read about Bokashi bins on something that Auckland Council published—though I can’t remember when or where. When I was visiting Auckland’s North Shore on Tuesday, I had some free time and I popped into one of the home improvement chains because I was interested in vertical gardens for herbs, but they were expensive. So, I decided to check out the other chain store nearby, and wandering through the aisles, I saw the ZingBokashi system. They had the 10 litre and 15 litre size, and I figured that the 10 litre was probably plenty big enough for us. I bought one.

Yesterday, I read in more detail, and also watched the video below to better understand what to do. It’s a little more complicated than I’d first thought, but not horribly so. And, ultimately, this can can become part of a regular composting system.

There was a conventional compost bin here when we moved in, but it was full to the top. As a result, we had nowhere to put food scraps, and they went into the rubbish. I didn’t like this because I knew they were compostable, and because they made the rubbish smell. The Bokashi system will take care of both—and cut down the amount that we send to landfill even more.

We plan on getting a new rotatable compost bit (which makes it easier to turn), and adding the Bokashi bin once a month or so will help enrich the compost, and probably speed up the process, too. At any rate, it will allow us to compost food scraps, including meat, something we couldn’t do with a conventional compost bin.

We already had their EnsoPet system for composting dog waste, but we hadn’t used it yet, mainly because I wasn’t clear on how to use it. Now that I know it has to be moved eventually, I can dig it in and start using it. This will fertilise the shrubbery, while also removing the dog droppings from the wastewater, reducing our “waste footprint” even more.

At some point I’ll post again about how these work, after we’ve had a chance to use and evaluate them fairly. It’s a start, at least.


rogerogreen said...

One of the problems with composting is the quick development of fruit flies in the caddy in the house, even in a couple days.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Interestingly, I've never seen fruit flies in New Zealand. I suppose we must have them, and sometimes imported ones result in a massive response from biosecurity folks. BUt the bin is solidly sealed, and we empty our benchtop one daily, so if there are any flies around, they won't have much chance to get established!