A guideline has been co-developed by the CSIR and DEFF and has finally been approved for implementation.
Globally, it is estimated that one third of edible food is lost or wasted each year (Gustavsson et al., 2011). South Africa generates about 10.2 million tonnes of food waste throughout the supply chain annually (Nahman and De Lange, 2013). Food waste comes with food insecurity as well as economic and environmental impacts.
Efforts to reduce food waste therefore provide an attractive opportunity to improve food security in South Africa as well as to reduce the economic and environmental impacts associated with it.
In order to prevent or minimise potential negative impacts on the bio-physical and socio-economic environment, the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (No. 59 of 2008): Draft national norms and standards for organic waste composting aim to control the composting of organic waste at a facility with the capacity to process more than 10 tonnes but less than 100 tonnes of compostable organic waste per day.
For the purposes of compliance monitoring, the operator of this facility should, prior to the start of construction activities, apply to the Department of Environmental Affairs for a once off registration of the activity on the department’s database.
Step 1: Obtain a bin or set aside an area in your garden that is approximately 1.2m x 1.2m. Size is important to build up sufficient heat. Piles that are too small cannot hold enough heat for effective microbial activity, and piles too large do not allow for enough air to reach microbes in the centre of the pile.
Step 2:Mix two parts brown (dry leaves, small twigs, straw, etc.) with one part green (grass clippings, vegetable peels, etc.). This 2:1 ratio provides the best mix of carbon (brown materials) to nitrogen (greens). Bokashi-treated food waste allows you to compost cooked food, proteins (meat products) and dairy. It also speeds up the decomposition of the compost pile. The easiest way to add bokashi-treated food waste is to open a hole in the pile and pour it in, then cover it up well with compost around it.
Step 3:Chop or break up any twigs and large pieces of food waste. A garden chipper is especially useful for grinding twigs and bones from the food waste. Materials will break down quicker with increased surface area. Chopping up food waste in the kitchen and then treating with bokashi will also increase the surface area exposed to the microbes in bokashi.
Step 4:Water your compost to keep it moist. It should be about 60% moist. Squeeze a handful of compost and you should almost see a drip. The moisture contents helps to build up heat in the pile.
Step 5:Compost needs air. Turn the compost regularly to help it break down and to prevent unpleasant odours. It is ideal to turn the pile every 4 to 5 weeks. A compost box that can be re-built while turning makes it easy to manage.
Step 6:Compost is ready to use when it looks and smells like rich soil. Compost without any bokashi-treated food waste will take between 7 and 10 months. Compost with bokashi-treated food waste will be ready between 7 and 10 weeks. Use it to feed your garden, flowers, pot plants and lawn.
Do not use the following to make compost:
Pet faeces – rather dig a small hole somewhere in your garden to gather the faeces. Sprinkle it with bokashi for odour control and cover it up. Mother Nature will take care of the rest. Don’t add bones, meat, eggs, cheese and oils unless treated with bokashi. See https://orasa.org.za/ Organic Recycling Association of South Africa for more information and contact details of commercial composters in your area who can assist with advice.