Bucket res­cue puts waste to good use


How many 15-litre buck­ets can you fit into a Toy­ota RAV4?

Two hun­dred, ac­cord­ing to avid re­cy­cler Neen Kennedy.

“Or 160 if you have a pas­sen­ger.”

Neen is one of the in­sti­ga­tors of Sus­tain­able Ewe — a CHB web­site and Face­book page de­voted to sus­tain­able liv­ing in­clud­ing re­cy­cling and re­duc­ing waste, pre­serv­ing, gar­den­ing, wa­ter con­ser­va­tion and more.

Sus­tain­able Ewe’s lat­est pro­ject is The Great Bucket Res­cue, which is re­cy­cling hun­dreds of 15-litre food grade buck­ets that were head­ing to the land­fill and in turn us­ing them to save bucket-loads of food waste that was also land­fill-bound.

The Great Bucket Res­cue in­volves col­lect­ing the used buck­ets from a Hawke’s Bay in­dus­try, wash­ing them out, re­mov­ing the la­bels and then us­ing power tools and Kiwi in­ge­nu­ity, turn­ing them into CHB’s own Bokashi com­post­ing kits, aptly named CHBokashi.

“I’d seen the kits in shops,” says Neen. “But they were out of my price range so I made my own. Then the op­por­tu­nity came to res­cue hun­dreds of buck­ets that were des­tined to the land­fill. It made sense to make these into af­ford­able Bokashi bins for peo­ple and also to get them into CHB schools and busi­nesses.”

Sus­tain­able Ewe col­lects on av­er­age 100 buck­ets a week, which makes a sub­stan­tial dent in what’s go­ing to the land­fill. It takes two buck­ets to make one com­post­ing kit.

Bokashi com­post­ing is a fer­ment­ing process but un­like other com­post­ing pro­cesses you can put meat scraps and chicken bones into the mix.

The buck­ets are sealed, so it doesn’t at­tract ro­dents or in­sects, and if you don’t mind an “ap­ple cider vine­gar” smell each time you open the bucket, Neen says the unit can sit in your kitchen for con­ve­nience.

“I call it ‘lazy per­son’s com­post­ing’ be­cause you don’t have to traipse down the gar­den ev­ery time you have food scraps to com­post. All you do is put the scraps in the bucket, sprin­kle a bit of ac­ti­va­tor in and for­get about it.”

The liq­uid that drains from the com­post is a plant su­per­food and a sep­tic-tank-friendly drain cleaner. The com­post it­self is able to be buried in the gar­den and in­creases worms and good ne­ma­todes and can be planted into in just a week. Sus­tain­able Ewe is sell­ing the Bokashi kits for $10 each, which funds free kits for CHB schools and kinder­gartens.

“Waipawa School has or­dered a Bokashi bucket for each class­room and one for the staffroom. We have sent kits to schools and kindies in Napier as well . . . the news is spread­ing that it’s a sim­ple way of re­duc­ing waste.

“We feel it’s im­por­tant that kids learn about sus­tain­abil­ity as that’s a way to ed­u­cate fam­i­lies . . . the kids can go home and nag the par­ents.”

Neen was demon­strat­ing the CHBokashi buck­ets at Waipawa’s Duck Day when when she came upon some­one with a worm farm bucket . . .

“I thought — hang on, we still have ex­tra buck­ets, so with the ad­di­tion of a plas­tic tap, CHBucket o’ Worms was born.”

So far both prod­ucts are avail­able — com­plete with starter kit and in­struc­tions — from Amar­via Blue in Ru­atani­wha St, Waipuku­rau, or via the www.sus­tain­ablewe.org.nz web­site, but the or­gan­i­sa­tion is keen to find more out­lets.

The web­site and now a Face­book page with more than 500 mem­bers started as a ques­tion from Neen about what she could do with her ex­cess plums. It has grown into a CHB-based fount of gar­den­ing and sus­tain­abil­ity ad­vice, recipes, so­lu­tions, swaps and friend­ships. Neen says she is still blown away by the strong in­volve­ment in a pro­ject that started from “the right place, the right time and the right plum tree”.

Avid re­cy­cler Neen Kennedy of Sus­tain­able Ewe, with some of the group’s “res­cued” buck­ets that are be­ing turned into CHBokashi and CHBucket o’ Worms com­post­ing kits.

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