Bokashi: This is Not Your Father's Compost

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Bokashi compost is a clean, practically odor free method.Bokashi is a ramped-up, high-speed composting method first developed in Japan.  What gives it the muscle that ordinary compost lacks?  Think of the difference between wine and grape juice, and that’s the key to a fine bokashi.

Fermentation and Bokashi

Conventional composting relies on oxygen-fed organisms to break down organic material.  Bokashi uses different kinds of microbes that thrive without oxygen.  They decompose organic matter through an anaerobic process.  It’s basic fermentation, the same process that gives us wine and pickles.

Advantages of Bokashi Compost

Bokashi works fast – in a matter of days, not months.  And, when properly managed, bokashi is practically odorless.  That makes it ideal for apartments and other small dwellings.  Compared to sink disposals, bokashi or “bucket composting” also promises to save water and reduce the load on sewage treatment plants.

Bokashi is also highly scalable.  Larger buckets can be fitted with wheels to ease transportation logistics.  For restaurants or schools, prisons and other institutions, bokashi has potential as a speedier, more space-efficient way to recycle large volumes of kitchen waste into valuable compost.

How to Do Bokashi Compost

Making bokashi compost is simple.  You need a couple of big containers with tight-fitting lids (to keep the oxygen out), some kitchen scraps, and bokashi mix.  The mix contains wheat bran, molasses, and EM’s – the efficient microorganisms that drive the process.  DIY bokashi help is available online but if you want to get started quickly, you can find ready-to-go bokashi kits at many gardening and eco-shopping sites like gaiam, or at specialty suppliers like Bokashicycle.

image: johndan at flickr.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

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