At Purple Bucket, our mission is to reduce landfill wastes while cycling our community's food scraps back into the soil to drive future growth. However, there are lots of food scraps that can't go into your Purple Bucket for a variety of reasons. What should we do with those items?
Why are Certain Food Types NOT Purple Bucket Friendly?
There are several types of foods that simply won't work with our composting goals for a variety of reasons. While many of them are compostable, there are many more factors that we have to consider, including one very important consideration.
We are a neighborhood service and we care about our neighbors (including people and wildlife).
We can't accept high protein and high fat food scraps because they create more odors and attract more pests. Insects, rodents, and large predators are drawn to the intense odors of high protein/ high fat food scraps in the compost pile.
Our neighbors enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Colorado foothills as much as we do. One way to ruin that appreciation is by sending the smell of rot and decomposition down wind to our friends and neighbors. We operate within the boundaries of our property; meaning that we aim to ensure that no one beyond our property line is ever impacted negatively by our composting mission, or any of the odors created by it. By limiting the items that go into our compost, we also minimize the impact on those around us, while still creating wonderfully rich compost and reducing our community's carbon footprint.
What should I do with high protein & high fat foods, to avoid relegating them to the landfill?
Bokashi Bins, unlike traditional compost piles, utilize anaerobic (meaning without oxygen) processes. This results in a rapid fermentation process that differs from the slower aerobic (with oxygen) composting process that we at Purple Bucket utilize to process food scraps.
This very simple process is a great addition to your existing compost plan, as it expands the list of items that you can keep out of the landfill. While we can't accept meats, bones, fats, and dairy based foods, a Bokashi bin could handle all of those items and provide you with compost tea for your home, all while reducing the volume of trash leaving your house for the landfill every week. The fewer waste items that have to be transported out of our community the better.
How does it work?
It's very simple. You'll need a Bokashi Bin and Bokashi starter (see below), also called Bokashi Bran. The bin is essentially an airtight bucket with a spigot for pouring out the fermented fluid. The Bokashi bran is a dry bran mix that has been inoculated with beneficial microbes. By layering organic materials, including meat, dairy, and many other food scraps, with the Bokashi bran, you create a prime environment for fermentation. If you've ever breaded chicken or fish, you can handle Bokashi bins. Just drop your food scraps in, then sprinkle the Bokashi bran until it's approximately as thick as the bread crumbs on your breaded chicken. Repeat that process as you add more food scraps, and then just let it sit.
What should I do with the resulting fermented material?
There are several options.
Add it to your Purple Bucket. Seal your finished Bokashi compost and place it in your Purple Bucket, and we'll add it to the compost pile. ONLY the 'finished' fermented Bokashi pre-compost can be added to our piles. This will ramp up the microbe counts in our piles and help to speed up the process.
Bury your Bokashi pre-compost in a hole or trench in your yard. Over a few weeks/months, the pre-compost will mix with your native soil resulting in a high quality soil & fertilizer mix, in which you can grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. After enough time has passed, dig up the finished compost and transplant it to your garden.
Dilute the pre-compost liquid (Bokashi tea) with water to create a potent liquid fertilizer for your plants. After first allowing the full container to sit sealed for 2-4 weeks, use a MINIMUM of 100 parts water to every 1 part of Bokashi tea. 2 teaspoons of Bokashi tea to 1 liter of water is a good starting point. Any less water will result in a liquid that is too acidic, and some recommend as much as 300 parts water to every 1 part of Bokashi tea.
Add it to a worm bin. If you appreciate the value of worm castings in your garden, you may be interested in starting a worm bin. Bokashi pre-compost can be added to your worm bin, though you must add it VERY slowly since worms are sensitive to high acidity environments and the fermented materials in your Bokashi pre-compost can damage or kill your worms. You can increase the quantities SLOWLY over time, as your worms will build a tolerance to the high acidity (within limits). Be careful to add high carbon materials along with your Bokashi pre-compost to buffer the high acid contents. This could include paper, hay, or a number of other organic high-carbon materials.
What do I need to start?
You can buy everything in one package and shortcut your Bokashi adventure.
This kit includes 2 bins and enough Bokashi bran to get you started. Having a 2nd bin means not having to wait for the first to 'finish' while you're left throwing out scraps that you would otherwise be composting. Simply fill your second bin while your first is finishing.
Once you use up your original supply, you'll have to restock on Bokashi bran. This 6.6 lb supply should last you several weeks to months.
*We are recommending this item as a way of supporting our mission of reducing landfill contributions. With that said, we may receive a small commission from Amazon if you choose to purchase after clicking this link. We promise to only recommend products that support our mission of increasing local composting activities, reducing landfill contributions, and reducing our community's carbon footprint*
We aim to provide you with the info you need to jump start your composting adventure, whether on your own or by partnering with us at Purple Bucket. Please continue reading and learning on your own and let us know how we can help.
- the Purple Bucket Team