Introducing my new review section…!
As you all know, one of my missions at Grow Inspired is to make a difference to the world by helping others find ways to eliminate the useless rubbish we send to landfill and instead, put goodness back into the soil.
I am passionate about renewable circular systems of living, and from time to time, I come across some really interesting and innovative products that support us all to live cleaner and greener. But there’s also a load of rubbish out there that isn’t worth the time or money.
If I find something I think is worth a try, I will be reviewing it here and keeping you informed. But please be assured, these reviews are unbiased, unpaid and as ever, will feature my no-nonsense perspective to help inform your purchases and decisions.
Trialling the Urban Composter – a bench top Bokashi bin designed to process your kitchen scraps in an urban environment
Trial duration: three months
Overall rating: 8/10
Product suitability: Any household, but especially urban homes and smaller families / couples / students
With food waste being the hot global topic of discussion right now, it is time for each individual to take responsibility for their own food waste and what better way to do it than Bokashi; the closed fermentation system that originated in Japan.
Bokashi can be processed in a range of ways – into the ground, on top of the ground covered with carbon (brown) material, into pots or containers, into your flower beds, into your garden or picked up by your local community garden.
I have been doing Bokashi on a large and small scale for over 13 years and have trialled many bins in this time.
Over the past 3 months, I have been trialling the Urban Composter bin and based on all of my experience and comparison, I think this is a good, well-made product that is good for households and especially those living in urban areas.
The things I like most about the Urban Composter
The Urban Composter bins come in two sizes – one for the bench and one that fits under the bench, so you can decide which suits you best.
My personal preference is the one that sits on the bench and, if I lived in a city apartment or was a working couple, I would recommend two of these, so you can keep the rotation going.
One of these bins could be tipped into a worm farm or easily into a raised bed, plant pot or compost bin. I have been trialling using the bench top bucket and then tipping into the bigger under bench one which has worked extremely well for me.
The two types of bins also come with different coloured lids to suit your desires – handy if you’re going to have it in your kitchen on display! The shape of the bin is great, as it doesn’t look like something hefty sitting on your bench and it supports its own weight when full and has no wobbles.
It has a good tight-fitting lid that clicks into place and keeps it airtight – crucial to the success of Bokashi, as this anaerobic process is the very thing that prevents a bad odour. The cheaper bins available in Mitre 10, Bunnings etc have a problem with tight fitting lids, so could experience a problem with undesirable smells.
It has a tap to drain off the juice, which is done every three days – this makes it an easy and clean process.
The tap is tight fitting and non-dripping, which is a great bonus as a lot of the bins out there on the market have either no tap or a leaky tap. I have been trialling for over three months now and have had no leaks from the tap.
It has a grate to stop the food blocking the tap – avoiding yucky, mucky messes.
It has a sturdy handle, which makes it easy to use.
When empty, it is easy to clean with a white vinegar or baking soda rinse and the grate comes out easily which enables a quick clean in 5 mins, ready to fill again
This system comes with a spray bottle of EM1. At first, I was hesitant of using this as I have been using inoculated bran to sprinkle over the food for the past 10 years. However, the spray is easy and quick to use, with no mess and no fuss to quickly compost the food. The trigger on the bottle works well and, in my three month trial, I have had great fermentation using the spray.
Overall I would give this bin an 8/10 for the bins that are available in the Asia/Pacific market.
Areas I felt could benefit from development of the Urban Composter bins
As with all products out there these days, nothing is perfect so there are always a few things that could be developed.
INITIAL DIFFICULTIES WITH THE LID
When I first received the bin, I had a problem with the lid staying shut, BUT after a week of closing it with both hands, the lid seemed to settle into its mould and close perfectly every time. In one way, this is a good thing as a tight-fitting lid is essential.
I also had to rewire my way of thinking, as I am used to opening my compost bucket with one hand and throwing the food scraps in with the other hand. With this bin, it requires two hands to open in the first month until the lid becomes a little easier.
THE POSITION OF THE TAP
Whilst having the tap is a positive attribute, it’s a shame that it sits flush with the bench. It would be nice to have a little higher, so I could get a vessel to drain the juice underneath, but this is really a small point. The fact that the tap doesn’t leak is a huge bonus.
THE GRATE INSIDE
The grate inside has quite big holes in it and I found that it needed to have a piece of handy towel put over it to stop smaller scraps from getting through – something they actually recommend to stop the tap from getting blocked. Again, this is a small point, but an improvement that could be made nevertheless. The handy towel works well to pass the juice through and can then be processed with the Bokashi once fermented, but it would be great not to have to add anything.
All in all, this a good bin for Asia/ Pacific market and has some great functionality, well-suited for the urban market it’s aimed at. I wholeheartedly support any good product that makes it easier for us all to incorporate clean, green living into our day-to-day and recommend it as a great solution for kitchen composting.
The Urban Composter is now available on Grow Inspired’s shop – browse the range here!