Home Composting – why and how using the 'Gobble'
I’m sure we have all put food waste in the bin and had that heart sinking feeling of helplessness and guilt while we close the bin door and walk away. I don’t think anyone feels good about throwing food away but I am happy to share there is something you can do about it from your home and it’s easy and accessible.
Among all the waste reducing swaps and tips, composting is not one of the easiest to adopt. Truthfully, up until Jan 2020 I did not know much about it at all and used the excuse ‘I can’t compost from a balcony in Dubai, it’s not possible or realistic.’ Boy was I wrong! You can and more so, it is easy with the right system and support.
Say hello to THE GOBBLE - a 4-tier bucket system for home composting. I know, it doesn’t look or sound like very much but honestly that’s the beauty of it, it is simple and most importantly it works. No bells and whistles, no fuss just a great solution that anyone can use.
I am very grateful to have connected with Sudha Velugula (the UAE supplier of Gobble and our composting advisor) in Jan who supported me on my journey and is now available to The Good Karma Co. community. She is a wonderful source of knowledge and support to anyone starting out with Gobble, here to guide you through your first few cycles of composting she is on call for any advice and tips you may need to make the process smooth and enjoyable!
If you have ever thought about taking the next step in your low waste journey, and adding composting to your life, but maybe didn’t know where to start, now is the time and here is how you can do it…
WHY START COMPOSTING?
Food waste has a couple of major issues we should be aware and concerned about.
- Starvation & Overconsumption - There is still a huge contrast between the overconsumption and waste seen in ‘rich’ countries and the starvation and food shortages in poorer countries. Even now in 2020, while we fear C19, in many countries hunger will kill before Corona does. There is a hunger emergency happening all over the world.
- Food waste ends up in landfills - Trapped without air or the right conditions, surrounded by non organic material, it is impossible to decompose. Instead, organic waste release methane (20 times more powerful than CO2) and contributes to climate change.
Starting your composting journey will put you back in touch with nature and improve your awareness of your consumption and what/how much you waste each week. From this awareness you can make changes to you daily habits and perhaps gain a deeper sense of gratitude.
Creating something meaningful out of your waste is deeply rewarding and fulfilling.
HOW DOES THE GOBBLE WORK?
THE GOBBLE is a simple system that can work in a villa or on a balcony, it is low maintenance, doesn’t take much space and easy to use.
- It comprises of 4 stackable buckets that having breathing holes.
- Simply start by adding a little newspaper and remix powder to the base of each bucket.
- Start filling the top bucket with your food waste, approximately 2-3 inches a time and cover generously with the remix powder. (I found that using a good amount of remix powder made the process easy, no smell, no flies and no excess moisture!)
- Pop a layer of newspaper on top, tuck it into the side as a little seal to prevent fruit flies, especially if going on vacation.
- Once the first bucket is full, finish with the remix powder evenly patted down, that bucket is ready to be moved to the bottom while it harvests and you can continue the process with the next empty bucket that will have moved up. Remember to change the lids as the top bucket should always be a fully sealed lid.
HOW LONG TO HARVEST?
It will take around 6 weeks for your compost to harvest, but when you get that first pot of fresh soil – trust me, it is an exciting moment and worth the wait! To have created something new from something that was waste is a really special feeling and deeply rewarding and humbling process of commitment and patience.
I found that collecting and observing what I threw out definitely made me more mindful of what I was wasting and how much it really was. I started to find ways of chopping and storing my food better and even planning my meals better all to reduce the bowl each week.
DID I DO IT EVERYDAY?
To be honest with you, I did not do it everyday at the start. I would focus on days when I would do a lot of food prepping and days where I knew I was cooking a large meal. That is where I started. I did grow to do it daily especially after my first harvest, keeping a about 2 days waste in a small bowl covered with a tea towel and then transfer it into the gobble every other day or so.
Any amount is a success, any amount that you are able to compost is saved from landfill and repurposed and recycled into the environment in a positive way.
After my first harvest of compost I was hooked and just amazed that nature had done it’s work so quietly.
WHAT CAN GO IN YOUR GOBBLE?
- All cooked, uncooked food waste
- Soft tissues, hair, match sticks etc
- Do not add – plastic, glass, pet waste, diapers, sanitary napkins
- Chop into smaller pieces – vegetable stalks, orange skin, crush egg shells
- Coffee, banana skins, crushed egg shells – great to add to your compost adding valuable nutrients.
- Do what you can, start slow and get used to the new habit and let it build.
- Remix powder – use to control moisture and insects – I use generously.
- Moisture – moisture is good but if there are water droplets on the inner walls you should add more remix.
- Use a piece of newspaper to cover the heap in between adding, especially if you go away for a while/vacation.
- Do not add pet waste or large amounts of garden waste.
- If you are adding large amounts of Citrus waste, better to add a spoon of baking soda to neutralize the acidity.
- 2-3 inches of waste at a time – layer evenly rather than pile too much.
- Not all items break down the same, avocado skin/pips and some bigger pieces take a bit longer and can simply be thrown into another bucket for another round of harvesting.
WHAT TO DO WITH COMPOST AFTER?
- Feed your plants
- Feed your friends plants
- Spread in your local community area
- Find someone else who has use for it - Facebook group have memebers who will happily take if off your hands - 'compost me uae' , 'plants club uae' or www.makesoil.org
ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF REMIX POWDER
When food breaks down, a lot of water is released. It’s this water that gets the bacteria to act on the waste and turns it back to soil, so it’s absolutely required.
However, it is because of this water, we can get bad smell and also larvae and insects.
Remix powder being majorly coconut husk and fiber absorbs this water there by preventing the smell, reducing the larvae and insects population, it also keeps the water from evaporating and gets the job done faster and very effectively. Of course the compost microbes mixed with remix powder play a role in all this.
Add enough remix to your waste pile to keep it just moist, not wet. This will help you control insects.
(I did not have any problems with smell or insects, just a few fruit fliers here and there, as expected)
If there was ever a way to start you composting journey this is it. Not only is the Gobble system easy and functional, Sudha is an amazing support throughout your first few cycles, giving you the ‘know how’ and confidence to integrate this seamlessly into your life. To give back through closing the loop is so important for all of us, whether you only compost once or twice a week or every day it all counts and there is no minimum requirement only that you start and do something!
The Gobble is now available on our website and Sudha will be in touch with anyone who orders to help set you up and provide ongoing support!
Please feel free to reach out to us via Instagram or firstname.lastname@example.org