By Evan Banks
I’ve been composting with worms for years in my apartment and have gotten pretty good at it. However, as a person obsessed with lowering the amount of waste they contribute, Vermicomposting left a lot to be desired. If you know something about it, you know that not everything can be processed by worms. You can’t compost things like meat, cheese, citrus, or onions. I like eating these things and that meant I just had to toss the scraps from this stuff into the regular garbage. I thought I had no choice and it was always kind of killing me…until I discovered Bokashi.
Bokashi is a method of composting that was developed by the Japanese a few decades ago and is now used in over 54 countries all over the world. Essentially, it relies on the natural high octane composting power of “Effective Microorganisms” (EM for short), bacteria like yeast and lactic acid which are found everywhere. These things normally break down our waste in nature over years, but in using a closed anaerobic Bokashi system, you can turbo charge the process and do it yourself.
So, who cares about the Science? Fine. Here’s how it works.
1) You get a bucket with a tight fitting lid.
2) You throw your waste into it. Anything goes; veggies, meat, cheese, eggs, paper, old cereal etc. You can even throw bones in but it will take a bit longer
3) Each layer of waste, sprinkle with a mixture of “Bokashi Bran” the medium for the bacteria (something you can make yourself like I did or buy in some specialty stores)
4) After 2 weeks, the PH and the putrefaction levels are changed so that the food is no longer rotting but actually pickled. Interestingly enough, it won’t look any different but chemically, it is. The caveat here is that Bokashi doesn’t smell like lavender or anything…but if kept airtight it should result in an almost sweet, vinegary smell.
5) Either bury this in your garden or compost pile where the rest of the decomposition process will be carried out odor free OR put it in your worm bin and have them turn it into compost that way
I’m setting a personal goal to throw out only one bag of landfill garbage a month and by using a combination of my existing worm bin and my new Bokashi bin, I’m confident I’ll be able to do that. Also, my trash bin doesn’t make me gag when I get near it. It’s really a win-win.
If you’d like to learn more about this amazing process, there are tons of resources on how to do it and also on how to make your own Bokashi Bran for free at home. As for now, I recommend this site:
Keep it green