As Seed approaches and anticipation builds, the last thing you might be thinking about is the maggot infested food scraps that have to be taken home because someone in your camp brought an oversupply of perishable food which all turned into an icky mess of decomposing grossness in the stifling paddock heat.
Thinking ahead and pre-planning is critical to making sure you avoid this and other potential MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) related disasters.
Hopefully, you already know that there are no rubbish bins at Seed – except the ones you bring, which you then take away with you. So be prepared to manage and transport all your compost, recyclables, and general waste.
If this is your first Burning Seed you will soon learn that the less MOOP you bring, the less MOOP you have to deal with during the burn, and the less MOOP you have to take back off site with you. MOOP Magic* is all in the preparation – it’s about not bringing MOOP to Seed in the first place.
Hot MOOP Magic tips from experienced burners
- Food not MOOP - Be realistic about how much food you will get around to cooking and eating. Any perishable food you don’t eat/drink is not going to be pretty after a week in the heat. We shouldn’t have to spell it out, but don’t bring a whole chicken and then realise too late that you have to take the rotting carcass home with you.
- Composting – you can’t throw your food scraps in Matong State Forest. Yes, that includes those pistachio shells and orange peels. The forest is a semi-arid grassland habitat: nutrient-rich food scraps from 4000 burners in one week will promote invasive weeds that out-compete native species. Plan for your food scraps (ideally don’t create any). Work out how you are going to get them home to a compost heap. Bokashi composting is a great solution, as you will avoid nasty odors associated with bagging your compost. Since the bucket you use should be tightly sealed, you avoid maggot infestation. See below for some Bokashi composting info.
- Packaging – Strip off excess packaging from anything new before you leave home, including food items. Remove any boxes or wrappers or anything that will instantly become recycling or waste when you get to Seed. Basically, don’t bring MOOP to Seed in the first place!
- Bins – Even with the best MOOP Magic skills you will likely end up with some recycling, compost and waste to deal with. Whether you choose reusable hard plastic tubs or garbage bags, make sure you have a plan before you leave home. If using garbage bags get strong ones to ensure they go the distance – which is all the way home with you. It’s not ok to dump your waste at the nearest town, and, be advised that the local tip will not be open on the Monday public holiday in NSW.
- Glitter and other itsy bitsy things – Glitter can be fun for some, however when it ends up in the intestinal track of a worm (or the bird that eats the worm) it has lost its sparkle. So shine from within and avoid wearing anything that can fall off your beautiful self. Avoid MOOP mayhem by not having loose, sequins, bindis, bean bag beans or other little things. If you can’t guarantee it won’t come loose, leave it at home – especially feather boas. If bringing carpet – gaff the edges to stop loose fibers fraying and flying free.
- Smokers – Ciggy butts are our number one Leave No Trace problem at Seed. Smokers are encouraged to bring a personal pocket butt bin. Old mint tins, containers, or film canisters work a treat. Bling them up, make them yours, and bring some spares for your fellow burners. Represent for your less-conscious smoker buddies and pick up any piggy butts you see around the paddock. Have a friendly chat to anyone you see ditching their ciggies on the ground – ask them if they have a pocket butt bin, and if not, why not? All smokers at Burning Seed should have one!
- Community participation – We are all in this together. If you see MOOP while out and about on the paddock, somebody should pick it up, and you are somebody! Carrying a dedicated MOOP bag with you can really help. If you see a fellow burner MOOPing, have a chat. When you see others picking up MOOP, cheer them on!
Speak up on behalf of the forest and help ensure that together we Leave No Trace.
Continue reading below for some information on Bokashi composting.
This is an anaerobic composting system that uses bran inoculated with beneficial microbes to ferment the compost. The microbes are yeasts (Saccharomyces spp.), bacteria that produce lactic acids (Lactobacillus spp.), and phototrophic purple non-sulfur bacteria (Rhodopseudomonas spp.).
- Food scraps of all kinds — including meat and dairy products banned from aerobic systems — are placed in the bokashi bucket with some inoculated bran (available for around $10 - $15), and sealed. Use approximately 1 tablespoon of mix for every cup of scraps. Use more when adding high protein foods, eg meat, fish, cheese and eggs.
- Every second day, the leachate that is an inevitable byproduct of anaerobic composting needs to be drained. This leachate (juice) can then be diluted at a ratio of 1:100 when you get home, and used as a liquid fertilizer for your garden. Make sure you have a bottle to collect the leachate in and do not pour out at Matong State Forest as it will promote invasive weeds.
- When the bucket is full, it needs to stay sealed for ten to twelve days. Then, you can either dig a hole in your garden, and put the compost into it, where it will become friable soil in two weeks time. Or incorporate your fermented Bokashi waste in to your normal compost heap, where it will act as a compost activator.
A single Bokashi bucket should provide enough space for all of the compostable waste that you create at Seed over a week.
More info on Bokashi composting: http://www.bokashi.com.au/Bokashi+One/How+it+Works.html
How to make your own Bokashi bucket: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2Ld_O45xGs
*No magic skills actually required – MOOP Magic is an illusion achieved through basic pre-planning and common sense*
Nat Giffney, LNT 2iC