Monday, May 7, 2012

The good news and the bad news

The good news is, the City of Tacoma is now collecting food waste as part of its biweekly garbage and recycling pickups.

The bad news is, I don't live in Tacoma but a near suburb, so I can't participate.

The good news is, I have been consistently collecting food scraps in a container under my sink, and covering it with bokashi, a mixture of bran, molasses and microbes that helps to anaerobically ferment food waste while preventing smells. It worked really well, except for...

... the bad news, which is that after the mixture ferments, you need to bury it in the ground. As an apartment dweller, I had no place to bury it...

... However, the good news is, I read about an apartment dweller who buried bokashied food waste in a garbage pail. I decided to try it with a lidded garbage pail on my balcony. Which worked really well until...

... the weather turned warm. The bad news is, in a 13-gallon garbage pail, you can only bury the food waste so deeply, and now that the weather is warmer, the pail started swarming with maggots and fruit flies.

The good news is, I sprayed it with an organic mite and insect control spray, made from lovely ingredients such as rosemary and thyme oil (smells great!). Then I ignored it for two weeks, and just checked it again today. No fruit flies, and the maggots appear to be dead. But yuck, the dead maggots are everywhere (fortunately, they're invisible as long as I keep the lid on).

The bad news is, I've gone back to tossing my food scraps in the garbage the past two weeks, and although I still have a previous-filled bucket of bokashi, I'm afraid to add it to the garbage pail and start up a fruit fly infestation again. Not a good thing to have when you have a small balcony as your window to the world in a small apartment.

I am open to any suggestions and ideas! Is my garbage pail of compost ruined? And if it is, how can I get rid of it? But more important, how do other composting apartment dwellers deal with these issues? (Where to put the stuff, bugs, etc).

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