Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Bokashi bin and done

About a year after we first started using it, we’ve decided to stop using the bokashi composting bins, which are designed to take nearly all food waste, raw or cooked. It was a good idea, and held promise, but in the end it was a lot of work and smelled horrible. Besides, our needs changed.

When I talked about the bins and our experience with them back in May, I said “there have been two times in which the bin smelled kind of like a wet ashtray—like cigarette ash, the paper, butts, unused tobacco and water all mixed together.” Since then, there have been two more.

A bad smell is supposed to be a sign of a bokashi system that’s failed, and, apparently, one is supposed to start over. I have no idea how to do that, even now.

The worst of the bins that weren’t working properly smelled like a particularly bad rubbish bin—it literally smelled like garbage. That’s not only extremely unpleasant, it’s entirely avoidable by not using the system in the first place.

The last bin-load was about half-full when I aborted it and left it to sit so I could add it to the ordinary compost bin. It smelled bad, with mould and fungus growing in the drainage bin, and it was so bad that I put it outside the house because it was stinking up the place. Unfortunately, it’s winter, which slows everything down, so I gave the bin a few more days than normal before I emptied it.

I wouldn’t recommend the bokashi bin system to anyone, but someone with a lot of time, energy, and commitment might be able to make it work, as long as they can put the bin somewhere outside their house. I can’t imagine it actually working in someone’s house because it never really did for us.

This actually isn’t a big change for us. We produce very little food waste, anyway, nothing other than, say, lettuce or carrots that we kept too long, and they can go in the normal compost bin. We don’t have extra cooked meat, and cheese never gets a chance to go off, and so, we don’t really create much organic waste that’s not compostable in a normal bin.

However, by abandoning the bokashi system, I do gain some time, spare some effort, with only a tiny potential increase in the waste we put into landfill-bound rubbish. That’s all acceptable, but the effort to become more sustainable will continue, just in different ways.


rogerogreen said...

Sounds exhausting.

Arthur Schenck (AmeriNZ) said...

Yes, but abandoning it was liberating.