Thoughts on indoor composting – the benefits to you and the world.
If you live in a small house or apartment, without much in the way of a garden, you can still re-cycle your kitchen waste by choosing one of the compost systems that are suitable for indoor composting. I use the word “indoor” loosely as, although I know enthusiasts who run Bokashi in the kitchen (definitely OK, I do it myself) or who carry out Vermiculture under the stairs, my personal preference would tend to be a little less inclusive and my inclination would be to house any containers, certainly wormy ones, on a deck or in a garage or out-building.
If I have no garden, why would I bother to make compost?
To my mind, if anyone has any concern for our environment or is interested in helping to reduce the appalling amount of organic rubbish generated in our society, then using one of these systems is a great way to “do your bit”. There is no requirement here to be interested in gardening. You can hate the out-doors and loathe the idea of digging and planting. You can abhor vegetables and eat only meat. You may never, ever mow your lawn.
BUT! Recycling your food scraps using an indoor composting system, will be of benefit to you and yours and will cost you only minimum effort along with the financial cost of the system you choose. (and DIY is cheap, cheap, cheap)
WHY? Because current figures show that over 30% of landfill is taken up by kitchen garbage. The less rubbish we add to our landfills, the more land we will have for other, more positive uses. The result will be a lessening in the degradation of our environment and and a less polluted water table. It is discarded organic material that is a major culprit in this area and indoor composting, recycling our unwanted food scraps, is one way we can minimise our contribution to this fiasco.
OTHER BENEFITS! An added bonus is that the product of this indoor composting, which ever system you choose, will be of great benefit to your plants, or to those of your neighbours if you do not garden yourself.
The two main (and inexpensive) systems of indoor composting are:
- Vermicomposting (worm farming)
Vermiculture is the true name for worm-farming if you are more interested in breeding worms. Raising worms for their compost is Vermicomposting. Worm castings, also called vermicompost, are considered to be the best quality compost available – the most efficacious, in particular when used for establishing seeds. If you are not into horticulture, never mind! You could always give the end result to friends and neighbours who, if they enjoy gardening will be only too pleased to receive such a great gift. For keen gardeners, a jar of worm tea or a small sack of worm casts can be as good as it gets! The end result of vermiculture can also be added to the garden in small quantities, or added to your garden bin where it will rev up the action there.
Bokashi, which is the other major indoor composting system for dealing with kitchen scraps is quite different. While conventional methods of recycling cause kitchen waste to decompose, with bokashi the ingredients are actually pickled through the action of specific microbes that work in an anaerobic environment. The results are astounding and can either be buried directly into the soil, once the process is complete, or added to a conventional compost bin, where it has the effect of super-charging the activity there. Incidentally, worms are quite keen on it too, so a small amount can be added to your worm farm if you have one. Makes a great dietary supplement.
Each of these, vermiculture and bokashi, is quite different in detail and has its own advantages and disadvantages. In general, however, ASSUMING THE RULES OF PLAY ARE ADHERED TO, both meet what I feel are the three most important requirements of indoor composting systems:
- There is no smell.
- There is little mess.
- The containers used are able to be accommodated in a small area.
Quote from the London Borough of Richmond web-site.
“Recycling food waste is as important as recycling other household rubbish like glass, cans and paper. When organic waste is put in landfill it bio-degrades and has serious environmental consequences. For example;
- Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere, which significantly contributes to global warming.
- A liquid leachate is also produced that can pollute groundwater and water courses, damaging the plants and animals that live there.
Disposing of waste via landfill is unsustainable and space is running out.”
The London Borough of Richmond has a good web-site and what seems to be a great food re-cycling programme. They also supply several different types of food collection bins. Congratulations to them, I say. Worth a look to see just what can be done if the local council has the will to do it.