Compost, Worm Farm or Bokashi?
The Australian Broadcasting Commission recently screened the popular three part television series War on Waste. Alarmingly, Australia has been ranked 5th highest country for generating municipal waste in the world. Over three episodes Craig Reucassel explored whether Australia as a nation is able to do better.
The statistics on waste in our world, and Australia’s contribution to this waste, are staggering and a topic being largely tackled at present is Food Waste.
Facts on Food Waste:
- The average Australian family throws out almost 1 tonne of food a year, at a cost of $3,500
- Each week the average Australian family throws out 20% of the food they buy, that’s one in every five bags of groceries.
- In Australia, we produce enough food to feed 60 million people per year -2.5 times more than our population.
- 3.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in Australia each year; enough to fill the MCG six times over.
- Food waste in landfill produces methane gas, which is 25 times more toxic to the environment than the Co2 that comes out of car exhausts
- If just 1% of all food scraps went to compost instead of landfill, it would save 45 million kilograms of Co2 from being released
The facts speak for themselves; we as a global collective need to change our ways in order to better care for our common home – but how?
One way is through composting. Whilst we do need to reduce wastage, some wastage of food scraps is unavoidable. Turning these food scraps into compost will save them from landfill where they will contribute to greenhouse pollution.
Composting techniques are varied and include: composting systems, worm farming and Bokashi. The system used is up to each group or individual; however it is not binary and all systems can be used simultaneously.
Here are a few considerations for each:
- Composting will require you to walk out into the garden, so not as suitable for apartment living.
- Compost Bins need to be aerated regularly which can be done with a compost turner.
- You should not add meat or dairy to compost bins as this generally attracts mice or rats.
- Whilst you can add rotten food scraps you should not add foods from the citrus or onion family.
- Compost bins are great for garden waste but are more limited when it comes to food waste.
- Worm farms need soil shade and typically live in the garden.
- There are no ongoing costs with work farms.
- Worm farms are easy to use; you simply put food in and when the trays are full empty them. You can use worm castings and create extra liquid when required.
- Worm Café’s give you continuous liquid fertilizer.
- You cannot add mat or dairy to worm café as this will attract mice. You also cannot add anything from the citrus or onion family.
- You can add rotten food.
- Worm farms are good for kitchen waste but not garden waste.
- You can keep Bokashi systems in your kitchen or laundry.
- Bokashi uses a consumable, a 1kg bag of bokashi mix is required for each full bin.
- Bin needs to be emptied monthly by digging the food into the ground. Liquid also needs to be emptied regularly.
- You cannot add rotten food or liquids.
- No maintenance required if you go on holidays.
- Bokashi is good for kitchen waste but not garden waste.
Many local Council’s are very supportive of composting and offer discounts and incentives for residents to compost at home. The Compost Revolution website allows you to search via post code to determine whether your local council in Australia offers incentives and discounts.
What some of our Sisters are saying about composting:
“Gwen and I have been using Worm Farms in our garden for several years now. Very successful for the food scraps the worms and the resulting fresh vegetables” – Tricia Weekes rsm
“During our extreme heat my worms died because I do not have sufficient shade outside my unit. I gave the equipment to another Convent where they are familiar with worm cultivation. I was sad to see them leave.” – Regina Camilleri rsm
“I think that the worm farm will do me very nicely. We are worried with rats here so I think that the composting might be not so good. The bin in the ground and sealed with a lid should do the trick. See https://www.bunnings.com.au/birdies-500-x-165mm-worm-tower_p3320917” – Ruth Wyatte rsm
“At home I run two compost bins and my worm farm thrived until summer and they all died. I want to learn how to care for worm farms in our Australian heat” – Margie Abbott rsm
“I felt terrible that all our green waste is currently going in the regular bin as we have no green bin. However, another idea for responding to food waste is the worm farm. We looked into it when we first set up house here and it seemed the simplest solution for a household of 2 only producing a small amount of food scraps. And it has been fantastic, so easy to use and look after once put in the garden. We don’t need to add anything special or turn over the compost, just contribute our food scraps. This is what we got from Bunnings for $23 + $50 for the initial pack of worms. https://www.bunnings.com.au/reln-garden-inground-worm-farm_p3160041” – Elizabeth Young rsm
“Bathurst introduced green bins last year and I already had a kitchen scrap collector. I am finding I only have to put my bins out every fortnight or three weeks. I still maintain my compost bin on site because I like the idea of making soil, but no meat, fish, citrus or onion goes into that. The green bin disposes of these items, as well as large garden waste. I use the freezer as a pro temps measure too.” – Patricia Powell rsm
“A few months ago my local council has a limited trial run of food waste going into the green waste bin. It has been so successful that it has been introduced across the whole Council area and has already impacted hugely on the amount going into land fill. I live alone and am amazed how little is now in my land fill bin. I use an ice cream container on my bench and then keep it in bag in the frig till garbage day. In a rented property I am not eligible for a free green waste bin so negotiated with neighbours to add my food waste to their green bin. Community and education both happen in a variety of ways!” – Julie O’ Brien rsm
June 20, 2017