Friday, March 26, 2010

Bokashi Cycle for food and pet waste

We don't have garbage pickup where I live. This has encouraged me to flex my already well-developed recycling muscle. I want to make as few trips to the dump with smelly garbage in the back of my car as I possibly can.

As I mentioned earlier red wiggler worms compost my vegetable scraps and newspapers. Some bulkier things like avocado pits and melon rinds I put in the outside compost bin and wait years for them to degrade to the point where I can use them. I have actually had better luck just leaving a very informal pile on the ground.  Perhaps it is because the naturally occurring soil microbes have easier access to the material. I have tried wrapping food waste in newspapers to add the "brown" or carbon element. I add a few shovels of earth but still it is maddeningly slow. Plastic, heavy cardboard and metal go to the dump along with non-compostable meat and bones.

The only thing that is problematic for me is the kitty litter and cat waste. Some people flush that down the toilet but I am on a septic system and that was not an alternative for me. Trekking the heavy bags of excrement to the dump was a decidedly unpleasant job. Adding it to my outdoor compost pile was smelly and meant that I could not use the compost on food crops. But today I think I may have stumbled upon an acceptable solution in the Bokashi system of fermentation.

The link to the Bokashi site is

Don't let the particularly amateurish videos put you off. There is some interesting information contained therein if you give it a chance.

I was so convinced that I was almost ready to order the special packets of culture. But then I got to thinking. What are they really selling?  I had already pretty much decided that I didn't need their fancy plastic storage items, dispensers or buckets - all stuff that is readily available at the dollar store for a lot less money.

So I got to thinking what is the magic ingredient and how can I "DIM" (Do it Myself)?  As you may have gathered  I am a person who likes to beat the system.  So I did some more looking and found this fascinating site.

It seems making your own involves messing about with newspaper, rice water and skim milk. All readily available items.

I guess what it all boils down to is this. How much work am I (or you) willing to do?  Would I prefer to fool around making my own innoculant or would I prefer to haul bags of poop to the dump. Of course I could always order the innoculant but my Scots blood balks at that. Hmmm.

I will let you know what I decide.

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