Let’s talk ways we can reduce waste! I have had my head in books, research papers and government documents looking at the state of our waste systems and trying to figure out how I can try and do my bit to reduce a whopper of a problem. Which in all honesty hasn’t been so positive , the initiatives I have tried so far with the local council and businesses have largely come up trumps. So I am thinking if people have the education and confidence to build low cost systems which are easy to manage, we can all do our little bit in reducing the amount of products that becomes waste in the first place!
Remember the aim of the waste game is to 1. Reduce the amount of waste 2. Reuse products before they become waste 3. Recycle the products which have been unable to be reduced or reused. In this system we are aiming straight for number 1 and 2 to eliminate the waste heading to a waste facility in the first place. We all have an extraordinary waste debt which has accumulated over our heads so lets get composting!
To learn more about Backyard Composting and some DIY projects to get your home compost system up and running check out:
- DIY Composting for the Backyard Gardener
- Bokashi Composting for the Backyard Gardener.
- Building a Re-purposed/Upcycled Compost Pit
- DIY Worm Farm Bin
- DIY Bug Hotel
What is a Bokashi Bucket?
If you haven’t come across the increasingly popular Bokashi Bucket system, a Bokashi bucket is an in-home bin for organic kitchen and cooking waste. There are an ever increasing variety of systems with assorted bells and whistles popping up on shelves in home ware and garden stores, one of the leading buckets in Australia seems to be the ‘Bokashi One’ system provided by Bokashi Composting Australia. If making your own bucket doesn’t seem appealing, feasible or ‘chic’ enough for you then I urge you to invest in one of these systems, just do a bit of research and take the marketing with a grain of salt. By showing you how to make your own I am just trying to save you a bit of money, give you a fun project to undertake with the family and get your hands dirty!
3 Benefits of the Bokashi Bucket
- The Bokashi Bucket accepts a rounded variety of organic waste including meat, fish and dairy scraps. Think of the good old chicken scrap bucket that used to sit under your grandmas kitchen sink but a little more sophisticated.
- The factors I particularly like about the Bokashi system are that I am utilizing a set of Effective Microorganisms (EM) to ‘ferment/pickle’ the organic matter in an anaerobic environment (an environment without oxygen).
- This process leads to very low to no odours being emitted from the system, pests/animals aren’t drawn to the odours of decay and pests/small children are unable to enter the bucket as it is airtight.
Now one claim that a lot of commercial producers of Bokashi Buckets maintain is that the Bokashi systems produces ‘No Greenhouse Gases’. I am not 100% sure on that, when I have left my filled airtight buckets to ferment, the lid gets a noticeable gas bubble doming underneath which escapes upon opening the bucket. This makes sense as 2 of the Effective Microorganisms are Yeast and Fungi, both of which emit gases while breaking down/fermenting organic matter. In reality though this small amount of gas produced is considerably less than gases produced via an aerobic open compost pit.
How to make a Bokashi Bucket
Using brand new materials bought from my local hardware store these cost me about $25-$27 each to make. They can be made for far less cost if you are resourceful enough! Brand new from a commercial supplier you are looking at $65-$100+.
- 2x 20L Food Safe buckets with airtight lids (you can use smaller buckets they just need to be the same size and dimensions, like 2x 1 liter yogurt buckets etc.)
- Spigot (I use a worm farm spigot, brewers spigots would work equally well)
- 25mm spade bit
- 7mm drill bit
If you are using a different spigot to the worm farm you will need to measure the hole diameter and use the correlating spade bit size.
- Place one bucket inside the other, label the buckets as top and bottom respectively.
- Hold up to the sun and use the shadow of the top bucket to draw a line where the base sits inside the bottom bucket. For me, this ended up being 10cm from the base.
- Find the preferred location you want to place the spigot on the bottom bucket and mark it on the bucket. The idea is to get it as close to the bottom as possible but ensure a 2cm gap from the bottom so the base of the bucket sits flush with the ground and won’t be resting on the spigot.
- Using the spade bit drill a hole through the bottom bucket to feed the spigot through. This is the only bit of the build that requires some focus as if the spade bit slips or doesn’t drill consistently through the bucket you will end up with a wonky hole which leaks. So have a practice run on an old bit of timber or even better an old bit of plastic with similar consistency to the bucket to get a feel for it. If you do make the hole larger than the spigot it may be able to be salvaged with a washer and some sealing caulk but that costs extra money so try and avoid it. (Don’t worry if you do, I did exactly that with my first try)
- Feed the spigot through the hole and tighten the nut until the plastic O-ring has compressed and deformed against the side of the bucket.
- Fill with water and ensure it is water tight.
- Grab the top bucket and using the 7mm drill bit, drill holes though out the base of the top bucket. The aim of the game is to create a pattern which allows even free draining of any liquids without compromising its ability to hold weight.
- Place the top bucket into the bottom bucket and put the airtight lid on the top bucket. Voila you now have your very first Bokashi Bucket ready to sit under the sink and start taking all your organic scraps. Most people find 2 systems preferable as they can fill the 2nd one while they let the first bucket sit and ferment.
If you want some further reading on DIY Bokashi Buckets, 1 Million Women also have a great DIY for Bokashi Buckets on their website.
Remember to check out: