Promoting Global Worming
Each year in Britain we throw away 28 million tonnes of rubbish from home. It is estimated that half of this waste is organic. When organic waste is sent to landfill it becomes toxic, as it anaerobically decomposes it produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, and leachate an unpleasant liquid that can seep into our waterways. As well as being harmful its potential value is lost forever.
Whether you are a single person living alone, a family with children, vegetarian or meat eater, or a business producing food or green waste, there is a better way of dealing with your organic waste than throwing it in the bin. Garden owner, allotment holder, flat dweller, business or educational establishment, food is the one component of rubbish that you can recycle yourselves, at source, with no need for it to be transported elsewhere to be dealt with.
If you have access to a garden or allotment then composting is a good place to start. Most councils offer discounts on compost bins and have volunteers called Master Composters who will be able to guide you in your endeavors to turn your green kitchen and garden waste into valuable compost. If you are planning on adding food waste to your composter we advise you to use an enclosed system or a composter with a base.
The Bokashi system utilizes Effective Micro-organisms to ferment food waste. It is wonderfully satisfying; all your leftovers (including meat, fish and dairy products) can be scraped into an air tight container, sprinkled with Bokashi Bran and left to ferment for two weeks. After fermentation the contents of the bucket is either added to your compost bin where it breaks down in 6 to 8 weeks and greatly speeds up the whole composting process or you can bury it in the ground where it will break down releasing all the nutrients into the soil. In certain cities in Japan, where this system was developed, by law all residents have to use Bokashi so no food waste is sent to landfill.
Earthworms have worked tirelessly for millennia aerating, tilling and fertilising the soil. They will happily turn your fruit, vegetable and paper waste into wonderful worm casts. Worm casts are so high in nutrients they are also known as Black Gold. Wormeries come in all shapes and sizes, some simple, some elaborate. Worms aren’t fussy where they live and work as long as a few basic requirements are met – they like dark, damp, aerated conditions. Worms will eat half their body weight in food per day, so the more worms you have the faster they will convert your scraps into worm casts. For flat dwellers and those who have small gardens, a wormery can provide a way of recycling organic waste at source, food waste will be reduced in volume by about 80% and the end result can be used in the garden or for house plants.
Wormeries and Bokashi systems can be put to great use by schools. Some choose to use them as an educational resource others to recycle all their food waste. We set up a school in Malvern with Bokashi systems and several large wormeries, in one year they diverted 8 tonnes of food waste from landfill. The system had the added benefit of making the kitchen staff realize how much food they were throwing away so they have taken steps to rectify this.
For more information on wormeries, composting and bokashi bins, please visit www.bubblehouseworms.com
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