I do have a garden, but it is very small and public on all sides. The only place I could have put a green cone was right by my front door and I didn’t fancy that. The problem with the Bokashi bin was that I have very little space to dig in the compost, which has to be dug in a certain distance away from plants to avoid burning their roots.
If you haven’t heard of Bokashi before, this is a system of composting kitchen waste using a special plastic bin with a tap. Each time you put in your kitchen waste you add a handful of ‘EM Bokashi’, a combination of sawdust and bran infused with Effective Micro-organisms (EM), a natural bacteria that accelerates the breakdown of the waste.
As the food begins to decompose a juice is formed, which can be drawn off using the tap. The liquid can be used as a drain cleanser or as plant feed when diluted 1:100 parts with water. Ideally you would have two Bokashi bins as, when full, the bin needs to sit for 10–14 days for the food waste to decompose effectively. After that time it can be dug into the garden.
The Council to the Rescue
So with Green Cone and Bokashi bin out of the running there was very little I could do with my kitchen waste . . . until last week!
Last week my council supplied all the houses in the area with a 23-litre food collection bin and a 7-litre kitchen food caddy. And this week they made their first food waste collection! Once all the food waste is collected it is taken to a composting plant where it is turned into compost or agricultural fertiliser.
Food Waste in Land Fill
According to the leaflet that came with the bin, approximately 40% of the borough’s waste is food waste. The problem with sending biodegradable waste to landfill is that it cannot decompose naturally. With a lack of oxygen, this waste causes the release of methane, said to be much more harmful than carbon dioxide and a contributing factor to global warming.
Thanks to the council, finally I can send my food waste to somewhere other than land fill.
Added Benefits – Less Plastic Bags
Now I’m using the food waste bins, I no longer need to use bin liners or put the waste in black bin bags, so this new service reduces the amount of plastic bags being used. Instead, the food bins can be lined with newspaper, which is also compostable. Bonus!
Plus, with no wet or smelly food items going into my usual kitchen bin, there’s no longer any excuse to use plastic bags or liners from the supermarket. I have my fingers crossed that less people will now choose to take plastic bags from the checkout when they shop.
UPDATE (17 Feb)
Another thing I’ve noticed about the food bins is that they make you realise how much food you throw away. I don’t know if I just had a bad week, but last week I threw away far more than I thought I would.
It certainly makes you think more about how much you are cooking. I think maybe smaller portions are in order, plus, keeping a check on what’s in the fridge so my fresh food gets used up before it goes off.
Photo via Flickr by dasistdasende.