Tuesday 24 March 2015

Save the planet one OBEO food waste box at a time

I count myself very lucky. Those who have read my blog know just how obsessed I am with gardening and those who know me really well know that I’m a bit of a compost nerd. A few years ago, I was even lucky enough to do a master composter course. I have a high vis jacket that says master composter at the back and know everything there is to know about different composting systems, the benefits, the bi-products, the uses, the lot.

When I moved into my new place, one of the things I was most excited about was that the house already had a 200 litre compost bin out the back. Heaven for a nerd like me. It wasn’t always like this though. Throughout my nomadic life, moving from house to house, it would always irritate me when there was no compost bin, especially for the years I lived in an apartment and a poky little one bedroom flat in the city centre. I longed for a place to put my organic waste when I didn’t have a garden. I also longed for a receptacle that encouraged people who lived in apartments and flats or who were simply put off by the thought of dealing with their organic kitchen waste and the hassle they thought it involved, to compost.

Where was OBEO when I needed them? When they contacted me recently, I was chuffed when they asked if I would trial their compostable food waste box. I'm not one for promoting products but I do use them when they work. I haven't sold out, I've been mightily impressed. I’ll admit that even though I was sceptical at first but within a week of using it, I could see its multitude of advantages and that I was silly to have my doubts.

OBEO is the brainchild of Kate and Liz. They were recycling and upcycling, composting and growing veggies long before it became the hip thing to do. Their goal with OBEO is to provide their customers with a product that is affordable, sustainable and practical. I used these boxes for an entire month and they are onto a serious winner.

The packet arrived in the post in a bundle of five flat-packed waste boxes. There is a perfectly well explained leaflet that shows how the OBEO box is clean, handy and strong. The cleverly designed illustrations on the leaflet make it clear how to use your OBEO box and how your waste is eventually converted into healthy compost. The back of each food waste box has clearly labelled illustrations of what you can put into it. It couldn’t be clearer and yet how does it work?

The flat packed boxes easily pop up into a free standing waste box. Most compost bins are smelly, slimy, unsightly containers you wouldn’t dream of leaving on your countertop but the suggestion from OBEO is this is the perfect place. This makes it so much more visible and readily available for use. Just like the containers, everyone’s brown bins are usually sickly, slimy receptacles and when I lived in one apartment, I remember lifting the lid, dumping my food waste and running away from the smell. OBEO solves this problem by keeping your brown bin clean. Once the box is full, you simply close it up and drop it into your brown bin for collection as normal. The cardboard is from FSC certified paper and is completely compostable so once it reaches the dump site, it will all break down. This is pure genius since it removes the ideas that people have about not being able to compost in apartments or with a brown bin as well as the notion that food waste is somehow disgusting.

I had a few doubts that I wanted to test out. OBEO passed them all.

Is the box going to leak?
I purposely put fruit pulp from the juicer in one box for three days in a row to test this theory. Piled it up high. Didn’t leak once.

Will it smell?
Not once. At one point there was leftover coconut curry in there for a few days with about 6 cloves of garlic. No smell.

Will it fall apart?
Despite my best attempts at filling it with tea bags and plate scraps, it stayed strong and sturdy and supported its own weight.

Will it be difficult to assemble?
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. There are clear instructions on the bottom of each box but it honestly couldn’t have been easier!

Will it break down and start smelling in the brown bin?
Just to test this, I cleaned out my brown bin and then week after week, for four weeks, I dropped in my OBEO boxes. Four weeks later and there was no smell, no leakage, no breakage or tears in the boxes.

There are two other massive benefits to this product too and they revolve around sustainability and environmental concern, two things that are close to my heart. In a very big world, it sometimes feels like our composting habits don’t have much of an impact on changing the environment and protecting it. In fact, when each person does their bit, however small, it makes a collectively huge impact. Composting makes a difference. Liz and Kate make an excellent point:
Obeo customers are part of something bigger. Every pack of Obeo they use diverts 10kg of waste from landfill, so they’re helping to save the world, one little brown box at a time.”

With so much of the world becoming urbanized and people calling cities their home, it’s vital that they have the opportunity to compost and recycle their waste just as much as the farmer outside the city or the person with a back garden. OBEO fills that need to make composting in the city easier for people who live there.

When asked to review the OBEO food waste box, I was delighted but having used it. I’m wowed by the energy, enthusiasm and intelligence that went into making it and just how well it works. Get composting with OBEO now. They can be bought at a range of different shops or online: (http://weareobeo.com/obeo-shop) where you can choose how many boxes you need. You can even sign up for a 2 month subscription, where 20 boxes are delivered every two months. These  girls have thought of everything!

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