How many 15-litre buckets can you fit into a Toyota RAV4?
Two hundred, according to avid recycler Neen Kennedy.
"Or 160 if you have a passenger."
Neen is one of the instigators of Sustainable Ewe - a CHB website and Facebook page devoted to sustainable living including recycling and reducing waste, preserving, gardening, water conservation and more.
Sustainable Ewe's latest project is The Great Bucket Rescue, which is recycling hundreds of 15-litre food grade buckets that were heading to the landfill and in turn using them to save bucket-loads of food waste that was also landfill-bound.
The Great Bucket Rescue involves collecting the used buckets from a Hawke's Bay industry, washing them out, removing the labels and then using power tools and Kiwi ingenuity, turning them into CHB's own Bokashi composting kits, aptly named CHBokashi.
"I'd seen the kits in shops," says Neen. "But they were out of my price range so I made my own. Then the opportunity came to rescue hundreds of buckets that were destined to the landfill. It made sense to make these into affordable Bokashi bins for people and also to get them into CHB schools and businesses."
Sustainable Ewe collects on average 100 buckets a week, which makes a substantial dent in what's going to the landfill. It takes two buckets to make one composting kit.
Bokashi composting is a fermenting process, but unlike other composting processes you can put meat scraps and chicken bones into the mix.
The buckets are sealed, so it doesn't attract rodents or insects, and if you don't mind an "apple cider vinegar" smell each time you open the bucket, Neen says the unit can sit in your kitchen for convenience.
"I call it 'lazy person's composting' because you don't have to traipse down the garden every time you have food scraps to compost. All you do is put the scraps in the bucket, sprinkle a bit of activator in and forget about it."
The liquid that drains from the compost is a plant super-food and a septic-tank-friendly drain cleaner. The compost itself is able to be buried in the garden and increases worms and good nematodes and can be planted into in just a week. Sustainable Ewe is selling the Bokashi kits for $10 each, which funds free kits for CHB schools and kindergartens.
"Waipawa School has ordered a Bokashi bucket for each classroom and one for the staffroom. We have sent kits to schools and kindies in Napier as well ... the news is spreading that it's a simple way of reducing waste.
"We feel it's important that kids learn about sustainability as that's a way to educate families ... the kids can go home and nag the parents."
Neen was demonstrating the CHBokashi buckets at Waipawa's Duck Day when when she came upon someone with a worm farm bucket ...
"I thought - hang on, we still have extra buckets, so with the addition of a plastic tap, CHBucket o' Worms was born."
So far both products are available - complete with starter kit and instructions - from Amarvia Blue in Ruataniwha St, Waipukurau, or via the www.sustainablewe.org.nz website, but the organisation is keen to find more outlets.
The website and now a Facebook page with more than 500 members started as a question from Neen about what she could do with her excess plums. It has grown into a CHB-based fount of gardening and sustainability advice, recipes, solutions, swaps and friendships.
Neen says she is still blown away by the strong involvement in a project that started from "the right place, the right time and the right plum tree".