Paul Cohen-Tannugi

Waste Diaries: Week 2

Implementing the Bokashi System

Wednesday October 16 - Week 2

This is my second week at Mediamatic, and there are still many things to learn. One of my goals is to implement a bokashi fermentation system that will be located in the Triangle space next to the kitchen to collect all the food-scraps, and fermenting them, to later use for our compost. In this way, we can further close our waste cycle.



Organic bin -

However, there are several challenges in the way:

1) Figuring out how much waste is produced daily, on average.

2) The required tools: A bin; Bokashi starter; utensils; gardening tools for the compost (as well the right size tools adapted to the volume we process)

3) Maybe the most crucial part: designing in a way that is both intuitive and manageable by all members of the staff, present and future.

To figure out how much, I will be monitoring, mostly by eye, and how much we will fill our 120L bins. It will be important to monitor the variations during the week (Pizza days vs regular restaurant day shifts). This will affect not only how large the bins have to be, but also the amount of Bokashi bran starter required, as well the right size of scoop. The latter should be available in rain-proof containers next to the Bokashi bins for easier use. 

However, generally speaking, starter is added every time we add food and the quantity doesn't need to be precise as long as the pile is covered well. 

One problem I have yet to figure out is, what liner to use for the bin, if any at all? Since this is green bin, the use of plastic bags defeats the purpose if it has to be thrown away everyone the bin is emptied. As for "Compostable" plastic bags, I am skeptical of their utility. This leaves me with two choices: 1) no liners, which mean the bins have to be frequently cleaned manually to avoid odours. 2) Use a newspaper lining, to reduce leaks, and newspaper can be mixed in the compost anyways.


The third part, and most crucial, which is the design of the whole system, will require more work. In addition to the right tools addressed in two, it will involve collaboration between the kitchen staff, bar, as well cleaning shifts people to figure out the most intuitive way. One thing I keep in consideration is, how will it work tomorrow, three-months from now, and 2 years later. 


Next steps:

- Figure out how much food waste we go through during the week. (And find the right-size bins)

- What is the most intuitive way to effectively separate waste in the kitchen: Colour-coded (Green for organics) / Black for rest.

- Create easy-to-use bokashi station with starter and simple explanation.

- Clean the compost pile: Shredding materials to a smaller size

All in all, this is a rewarding learning journey, and I am hoping that we will be able to use our Bokashi to reduce waste, and create fertile soils for the gardens. 

The Journey continues..