Reduce your landfill waste and recycle your food waste by using a Earth Probiotic Bokashi bin together with Earth Bokashi bran.
We all waste food, whether we have bought too much of something and it goes off before we use it all; or if we make too much food and have family members who refuse to eat leftovers. I recently read somewhere that in South Africa we waste about 10 million tonnes of food per year, almost half of which is fruit and veg. Our yearly food waste amounts to about a third of the food that is produced. That means that billions of Rand’s worth of food is thrown in the bin, while there are millions of South Africans who go to bed hungry every night!
I’m not writing this to make you feel bad, I’m writing this to make you aware of the impact our actions have. I have been trying to reduce the amount of food waste I am responsible for. One way it to buy less. Because I buy packaging free fresh fruit and veg weekly, I can control the amount I buy of each item. I know I go through tomatoes quickly so I buy a lot, but I don’t always get to all the onions so I buy less. And instead of throwing the food waste I do created together with the off cuts, into the bin, I’ve invested in buying two Earth Probiotic Bokashi bins which turns the waste into compost and creates liquid fertiliser as well.
We all know that fruit and vegetables are biodegradable. Which means that when placed in soil, with the help of microorganisms, light, water and oxygen, it starts to break down. This is called aerobic biodegration. But do you know what happens when your fruit, vegetables and other biodegradable kitchen and garden waste, which you sealed in a black bag, ends up in a landfill?
With very little dirt, oxygen and hardly any microorganisms the organic waste will start to slowly biodegrade anaerobically. When decomposition is anaerobic it leads to a production of methane, a greenhouse gas which contributes to global warming and climate change. This is exactly why it is so important to compost your kitchen and garden organic waste.
Composting in itself is a controlled process. But if you have a compost heap and you don’t aerate it regularly, the biodegration will turn anaerobic, which will then produce methane.
What is bokashi?
Bokashi composting is basically a pre-composting fermenting process which happens inside a sealed bin, that does not produce heat, CO2 or methane. The bin has a tap at the bottom, and a strainer which is there to separate the food waste from the liquid which is created during the fermenting process.
Earth Probiotic’s Earth Bokashi bran is made with indigenous South African microorganisms and contains a balanced mix of nitrogen and carbon rich material; which is added to the bin together with your food waste to accelerate the break down process. The sealed bin does not smell so you can keep it indoors or in your garage. It is recommended that you keep it out of direct sunlight.
How to use your bokashi bin?
To start using your Earth Probiotic Bokashi bin, you collect your biodegradable kitchen scraps (basically anything from a plant or an animal) into a container, which you can store in the fridge or freezer. I try to cut the scraps into smaller pieces and store mine in the freezer. Then weekly you open your bokashi bin, add the scraps, push them down slightly, and then sprinkle bokashi bran over the scraps. You keep doing this until your bin is full.
Then once it is full, you leave the bin sealed for 2-3 weeks, before adding the contents to your compost heap. At this stage, the food scraps still resemble food scraps and will continue to break down in your compost heap. The bokashi actually also accelerates the composting process.
You need to invest in 2 bins, because once your first bin is full you can start filling the second bin. And if you realise you generate more waste, after your second bin is full and before you have transferred the first bin’s contents to the compost , then it is suggested that you invest in a 3rd bin.
How to use your bokashi juice?
Bokashi juice, also called leachate; is basically a liquid that is generated from your kitchen scraps and accumulates at the bottom of your bokashi bin. During the 2-3 week process, once a week I take the bin, and put it on a counter so that I can open the tap, while holding a jar underneath to collect the bokashi juice.
Bokashi juice is mostly used as an extremely powerful liquid fertiliser, and because of its acidity you need to dilute it with water before using. It is recommended to use 1:300 for gardens and pot plants which means you add 1 part bokashi juice to 300 parts water. So 2ml can be added to 600ml water. And for lawns and veggies the ratio is 1:100 and for sensitive plants it is 1:1000.
You can also add the bokashi juice to your compost, which acts as a compost enhancer. And you can use the bokashi juice as a soil drench, to add minerals and nutrients to your existing soil. In both cases I would dilute it 1:100.
Undiluted, bokashi juice is also a great to unblock drain, that can help control odour and prevent algae build-up. And it also has the benefit of cleaning up our waterways.
Where to buy?
Bokashi bins are now available at most nurseries. I bought mine from Shop Zero’s online shop and regularly by Bokashi bran from them as well, as they sell it in bulk, free from plastic packaging. If you buy it online, you get it in a brown paper bag, which you can reuse a few times, before eventually adding it to your recycling.
Are you a composter? Do you use a bokashi bin? I’d love to hear from you in a comment below.
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