Sustainable Living Center Oregon
The Food Waste Problem
Food waste “occurs when an edible item goes unconsumed, such as food discarded by families. The Sustainable Living Research Center in Lincoln City is starting a program to impact the Food Waste Problem of Lincoln County.
U.S. consumers waste up to 50 percent more food than Americans did in the 1970s, according to National Institutes of Health. If you’re assuming restaurants and farming are the sole culprits of food and agricultural waste, consider that a U.S. family of four discards around $1,500 a year on food, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A report from the Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that 40 percent of all food in this country is never eaten.
The environmental impact is huge: food waste, which is the single largest component going into municipal landfills, quickly generates methane, helping to make landfills the third largest source of methane in the United States.
What is Bokashi?
Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning ‘fermented organic matter’. It is often referred to as a type of ‘composting’ but it is a two a two stage process. There is a fermentation stage, and a composting stage. The fermentation stage results are much different end product than that produced via normal composting. It is process where a person is fermenting their table scraps.
Many people like Bokashi because it is very easy, and no bad odors, but it does have an odor. it is a vinegar\yeast smell.
All that is needed is a Bokashi Bucket with air tight lid, some special Bokashi Dust, and of course, some table scraps.
Any type of food waste can go into the Bokashi Machine©. If you are familiar with normal composting, you will know that there are some materials not recommended for a compost pile – namely meats, oily foods and dairy.
With the Bokashi method there is no limit, as long as it is an organic product, no plastic.
It is a two buckets system, one inside the other. The top bucket has holes in it to allow any liquid to drain into the bottom bucket. The liquid is called leachate.
The key component of a successful Bokashi Machine© is the Bokashi Dust and fresh food waste.
If the food waste has gone bad, for example smell rotten, black mold etc. it will not work. It will have “bad” microorganisms in it.
The Bokashi Dust consists of material inoculated with a special mixture of microbes, variously referred to as ‘effective microorganisms’, ‘friendly microorganisms’, or ‘efficient microorganisms’. These microorganism will caused “white” mold to grow on the food waste.
Once you have the table scraps, machine and dust you are ready to get started.
Place your table scraps into your bucket, make a 2” layer. Cut the table scraps into small pieces. The smaller the pieces the better the fermentation stage works. Sprinkle a handful of Dust over top and seal it – that’s it!
Continue doing this until you’ve filled the bucket completely. You may want to use a heavy plate of some sort to help press down the materials in the bucket. This will force the air out. Air will cause the bucket to smell bad – get the air out. Simply press the food down each time then put the lid on the bucket.
If a batch develops a strong putrid smell, it usually it means the bucket contains too large of table scraps, too much liquid or not enough dust. The leachate (liquid) will accumulate in the bottom bucket. If your table scraps are fruit like apples, excess liquid will need to be drained. This leachate can be put down your drain, it will clean your drain pipes just like plumbers helper. You may mix it with water and use it immediately with your plants as a more super growth.
There is a $20 fee/year to enroll in the Home Food Recycling Project to cover the cost of your home Bokashi Machine and Bokashi Dust. In addition, you will receive an endless supply of clean Bokashi Machines and Bokashi Dust, at no additional cost, as long as you bring your full machine to our location
The fermenting table scraps in your Machine will be placed in our composting process at the Sustainable Center.
As long as you bring your Machine to the Sustainable Center, you will be given a new Bokashi Machine and more Dust.
If you want to keep the Bokashi for your garden, you may do so. There is no charge or obligation on your part. If you keep the Bokashi and need more Bokashi Dust, it can be ordered on-line from Amazon.com or purchased it from the Center at the cost of $10/lb.
The bucket of your fermenting table scraps will then be processed by the Sustainable Living Center.