In 2013, Americans discarded over 254 million tons of municipal solid waste, 28 percent of which originated from food and lawn waste. Musket Ridge Golf Club wanted to reduce the amount of solid waste members and guests produce by recycling food scraps and landscape waste back into the golf course as compost. In addition to doing their part to become better environmental stewards, the increasing cost of waste removal and purchasing compost influenced golf course officials to think of new ways of managing their waste production.
Musket Ridge Golf Club combined the resources of their food and beverage and golf course maintenance departments to create a successful, zero-waste initiative. The new program uses a centuries-old Japanese process called bokashi to convert food waste from the kitchen into organic soil amendments used by the golf course maintenance staff.
Bokashi is a method of composting that uses microorganisms – sold in a liquid formulation known as EM-1– to break down organic waste. At Musket Ridge, Kyle Roberson, executive chef, makes his own bokashi mix using sugar and EM-1 inoculant. The cost to create the bokashi mix is less than $100 per year.
Roberson’s kitchen staff separates organic food scraps and places them into large, rolling trash cans. As waste fills the containers, Roberson adds an appropriate amount of bokashi to begin the fermentation process. Once the containers are filled, Vince DiStefano, golf course superintendent, transports them to a grass clipping dump area and spreads the material over wooden pallets to keep it off the ground
The bokashi is covered with wood chips for insulation and a tarp to keep it dry. After approximately 3-4 weeks of fermentation, the material reduces to half its original volume and is ready to be used as a nutrient-rich, organic soil amendment. The compost also can be mixed with grass clippings and sand to create excellent topsoil for various in-house projects.