Feasibility of Bokashi
Glen Agee An Investigation into the Feasibility of Bokashi Composting at OSU Page 7
Proposed Improvements to Best Practices for Reducing Food Waste on the OSU-Corvallis Campus
—An Investigation into the Feasibility of Bokashi Composting at OSU
Prepared for Mr. Jacky Chan, OSU Special Projects Office
Submitted by Glen Agee
Submitted on Sunday 13 May, 2018
Wr 327 spring 2018 section # [ABC]
The scope of the following Investigative Research Project (IRP) Report is limited to research activities undertaken in Wr 327 Technical Writing during winter term 2018. Activities included a four-phase methodology consisting of brainstorming among peers, web and OSU library research, and personal observation and other information exchanges. The results of this activity are brought together in the report’s Discussion section, which states that Bokashi composting could be a viable method for local recycling of food wastes generated on the OSU campus. Finally, this report recommends that OSU’s Special Projects Office fund a pilot study of three complete Bokashi composting cycles using six 5-gallon Bokashi buckets—with the subsequent fermented waste trenched into multiple garden locations at the Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture on the OSU campus. Students with an interest in Horticulture would be paid to work on the pilot project, with the project findings (including photo documentation) published to the Horticulture Projects web site.
The mission of OSU’s Undergraduate IRP (Investigative Research Project) Initiative is to identify educational opportunities for students through project management. Projects recommended through the 2018 IRP Initiative must focus on “improvements to the student experience at Oregon State University in Corvallis.” IRP Reports must be prepared specifically for Mr. Jacky Chan of the OSU Special Projects Office, 640A Kerr Administration Building, Corvallis, OR 97311. To be considered for project implementation during 2018, student IRP Reports should be submitted before the deadline of Sun13May2018 at 11:59 PM.
All submitted IRP Reports should limit the scope of their recommendations to pilot projects with a budget of $5,000 or less. All IRP Reports must include evidence of preliminary research that supports both educational opportunities and improvements to the OSU-Corvallis campus. It is understood that the preliminary research that supports all IRP recommendations will be based on Wr327 class activities that include brainstorming among peers, cited web research, cited OSU library research, and personal observations/information exchanges, which may include informal interviews, conversations, online blogs, or other forms of social networking.
Student Introduction: Glen Agee, an Oregon State University sophomore majoring in Horticulture, has compiled an Investigative Research Project (IRP) Report that explores options for “Improving Best Practices for Reducing Food Waste at OSU.” Glen Agee recommends that OSU’s Special Project Office fund a pilot project to explore the benefits of Bokashi composting of food wastes generated at OSU—estimated to be as much as 250,000 pounds annually. Because Corvallis food waste recycling options are limited, much of OSU’s food waste goes to the local landfill, where it slowly rots, releasing methane—a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. By contrast, Bokashi composting is a sealed fermentation technique that produces very few emissions, and which is capable of reducing even meat and dairy food wastes to garden mulch in only four weeks’ time. Bokashi composting results in a superior soil amendment, vigorous plant growth, and increased crop yields. Only a few scientific studies are available to validate the benefits of this ancient technique. Thus, our proposed Bokashi Composting pilot project would make an excellent research experience for OSU students. We are proposing that this Bokashi composting pilot project take place during the summer 2018 at OSU’s Oak Creek Center for Urban Horticulture.
The Methodology, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion sections that follow describe the basic research undertaken for this report. Further information in the form of a Formal Project Proposal may be requested.
|Phase 1: IRP Brainstorming–Document/Discussions/Peer Review Activity
1. Individual Exercise: Summarize your exploration of web sites related to your chosen topic and how you might apply this topic to suggest improvements to the student experience at OSU. I conducted the following Google searches: “Food Waste in America,” “Food Waste at Oregon State University,” and from the Oregon State University portal: “Master Recycler.”
2.Individual Exercise: Reflect on your personal experiences related to the need for such an improvement at OSU-Corvallis. Having worked in food service, I’ve seen meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruit go into the trash and ultimately go into the landfill—but the Bokashi composting method is one possible solution for the problem of too much food waste in the landfill resulting in the production of too much unwanted greenhouse gas (methane).
3. Group Exercise: Brainstorm within your group/among your peers, discussing the improvement you might recommend ($5K Pilot Project)—an improvement to the student experience at OSU-Corvallis. Document this discussion. During brainstorming, more composting was recommended as a solution for food waste generated by UHDS dining halls at OSU—Bokashi composting seemed like a good candidate for a pilot project.
|Phase 2: Web Search of OSU Topic Options.
4. Individual Exercise: Conduct a web search for sites that help to describe your ideas for your proposed/recommended improvement that could be implemented at OSU-Corvallis—document your search criteria. Conducted Google searches: “What materials are required for Bokashi composting,” and “How long does Bokashi take to decompose.”
5. Individual Exercise: Identify a Short List of Two Relevant Web Sites—by topic and include the URL. Materials for Bokashi composting described at this URL: https://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/indoor-composting/bokashi-composting/. AND a ten-step guide to Bokashi composting at this URL: http://www.mysquarefootgarden.net/bokashi-composting-part-1/
6. Individual Exercise: Summarize the content of both web sites. Bokashi composting is an anaerobic process that relies on inoculated bran to ferment kitchen waste, including meat and dairy, into a safe soil builder and nutrient-rich tea for your plants. Under normal circumstances, food and yard waste will decompose completely in 12-18 months. Traditional composting can speed that process, so it takes 3-4 months. Bokashi composting takes only 2 weeks in the bucket, and about 2 weeks in the ground.
|Phase 3: OSU Library Online Search—conduct a search for reference materials related to chosen IRP topic
7. Individual Exercise: Identify search methods—document search criteria used. Searched OSU Library using this search: “Bokashi composting.”
8. Individual Exercise: Identify a short list of two relevant sources. Found: 1) Journal article: “Evaluation of composting as a strategy for managing organic wastes from a municipal market in Nicaragua”; 2) Print book: “Bokashi composting: scraps to soil in weeks.”
9. Individual Exercise: Summarize additional source searches, such as Amazon books. On Amazon, found a wide variety of Bokashi composting kits as well as books like “How to make a Bokashi Compost.”
|Phase 4: Personal Observation/ Information Exchanges
10. Individual Exercise: From memory, web-views, or personal interviews make a short list of 5 OSU-topic-related observations—these may also suggest options for further inquiries related to your topic. Short List: 1) Adding meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruit to compost slows decomposition; 2) Burying meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruit in the garden or landfill does not generate good compost; 3) Restaurants and dorms discard meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruit as garbage; 4) “Natural” composting of household garbage can take years; 5) Bokashi composting takes about a month and will compost meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruit—all table scraps combined.
11. Individual Exercise: Make a short list of 5 interview questions related to your topic. Short List: a) Have you tried composting? b) How do you sort your household garbage for composting? c) What kind of compost container do you use? d) What materials do you have to add when composting? e) How often do you have to add materials and how long until done?
12. Individual/Group Exercise: Brainstorm/Document options for OSU improvements within a $5K budget. A possible pilot project: Bokashi composting using Bokashi bran to ferment meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit in a 55-gallon Bokashi bucket. After 2 weeks fermentation, pre-compost is buried in an OSU garden—2-to-4 weeks later becomes a plant-ready soil additive. Based on pilot results, suggest larger applications for this method of reducing food waste at OSU.