Bokashi in School Waste Management

School stories on waste education  (Nelson City Council, New Zealand)

A bokashi victory              September 2009

Two years ago Victory school had a problem with the large amount of fruit scraps, generated as a result of their involvement in the Fruit in Schools Programme, run by the District Health Board. This programme provides free fruit to students at school every day to boost the children’s nutrition levels.

A large-scale bokashi system  provided the answer to their fruit scrap problem. This system takes care of citrus and other fruit scraps, as well as ham sandwiches and all kinds of lunch time food scraps not suitable for other systems.

Nelson City Council donated two large 120-litre drums to the school for use as large-scale bokashi containers. One drum is used at a time and is dug down into the ground in a suitable spot within the school garden. The soil removed to create a hole for the drum is piled around the base and is used to cover the bokashi mix once the hole is full and the drum is removed. This part of the garden is then planted after a couple of weeks. The drums are rotated around the sites in the garden on a regular basis.

Selected senior students are on collection duty for the term. They collect fruit scraps in buckets at the end of the school day and carry them over to the big bokashi drum in the community garden. They usually get about six full buckets of scraps from a total of 18 collection buckets located in each classroom. The students tip the buckets into the drum, pack the food scraps down, and sprinkle in a handful of bokashi compost-zing on top, before making sure the lid is put back on tightly. The school funds the ongoing cost of the compost-zing activator for their bokashi system.

“Before we had the bokashi system, we were having a big problem as there were just too many fruit scraps and our compost bin was overflowing. Also the type of waste was not suitable for composting – some days we just had banana skins, other days too much orange peel. The bokashi system makes it easy,” says teacher Judy-Anne.

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