It is International Composting Awareness Week, May 5-11.
Did you know:
*Food waste accounts for around 40% of what gets sent to landfill
*The average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year (that is equivalent to 1 in 5 bags of food)
*Food waste does not break down effectively in landfill conditions therefore contributing greenhouses gases
In our house we compost our food scraps via three methods: a worm farm, Bokashi bin and outdoor compost bins. And since doing so we have reduced the amount of rubbish that goes into the regular landfill bin.
These guys love fresh fruit and vegetable scraps. They get our veggie peelings, apple cores, banana peels, celery tops etc. We collect these scraps in a plastic container (reusing!) and once full it goes into the worm farm. The worms don’t like citrus or onion so we separate these.
As the worms slowly munch through the food scraps they turn the waste into worm castings and worm tea. We use this on our garden as a nutritional soil booster and fertilizer.
A Bokashi bin is a sort of pre-composter that uses an anaerobic environment (no air) and added microbes to start the decomposition process. Unlike a worm farm, it is able to take any food waste including meat, dairy, onion, citrus and oils. I also put in nail clippings, paper towel and dirt swept off the floor.
Again we have a plastic container under the sink to collect the above items and at the end of the night it goes into the Bokashi bin along with a good sprinkle of Bokashi flakes. These flakes contain the microbes needed. Once the Bokashi is full, it needs to be left alone for two weeks. It is said that having two Bokashi bins is useful as a second one can be added to while the first is fermenting. After two weeks the contents (which have started to break down) need to be buried so they can fully decompose. This process gives the soil a healthy dose of nutrients. Then we start again!
Outdoor compost bins
We have two storm water pipes that we scored from my brother in law that we use as compost bins outside. These are the same pipes as used in the recycled strawberry patch! Any excess food scraps are added in here; when the worms aren’t getting through their scraps fast enough or if the Bokashi bin is full and fermenting. We also put in garden waste and coffee grounds.
Outdoor composts are supposed to be mixed somewhat regularly and also have the right amount of green vs brown (something about carbon and nitrogen) but basically we just throw stuff in and hope for the best! After a few months we use the compost in the garden.
There is heaps of information on composting available if you want to get stuck into it properly. And there are lots of methods to suit all families and homes. Even for those who don’t want to compost you can look up Share Waste (https://sharewaste.com/) and connect with others who want your food scraps.
Here are some other useful links:
How do you compost? Share your method below!