Bokashi Compost

Food Waste's Best Friend

Summer 2016 Zero Waste conundrum solved!

Thank You Bokashi Living.

As I counted down the months to our family’s cross country move this summer my greatest concern was how I was going to succeed at Zero Waste without a kitchen (or access to compost) for three weeks!

Thankfully, through social media, I was introduced to the wonderful people at Bokashi Living out of Vancouver BC.  Prior to this year bokashi composting was a foreign concept to me. But after a little research I quickly saw that this was the best, if not only, solution to my summer conundrum.

So as we packed up the car to embark on our journey I made certain that my bokashi buddy was safely on board!

Yes, there were a few quizzical looks and raised brows as I swept the leftovers from our meals into a Tupperware container to feed our bokashi bin in the car. And yes, the looks were even stranger as onlookers watched me lug the bin, along with our suitcase, children and dog through the front entrance of each hotel.

But I was determined. My Zero Waste goals were not going to be turned upside down by our family’s ever changing postal code.

So What Exactly is Bokashi?

It’s the simplest, most comprehensive compost system around.

Accepts All Food Waste. Bokashi bin takes ALL your kitchen food waste: cooked, raw, dairy & meat, vegetables & fruits.

It’s Fast. All it takes is 4-6 weeks and you have nutrient rich compost to add to your garden.

No Foul Odor. Bokashi has a pickling/yeasty smell, not the typical odors associated with composting.

Pest Free. Rats, racoons, flies, mice and bears who might typically be attracted to home compost are not attracted to bokashi.

Sustainable. The anaerobic compost system of bokashi releases little (if any) harmful greenhouse gases.

It’s Easy. This is likely the greatest benefit of using bokashi over other home compost systems. No separating food scraps, no long term waiting, no worry for pests.

Below are excerpts from a blog written for PAREdown by one of the owners of Bokashi Living out of Vancouver, Canada. This post analyses how bokashi is a better choice for food waste than other traditional options.


Bokashi vs Garbage

Garbage, trash, rubbish… whatever you call it, it is all destined to be burnt or buried in a landfill. This is a massive waste of the nutrients and goodness in your food scraps. These days many of us are blessed with garbage pick-up service. This makes it too easy to throw valuable ‘waste’ into a black bag and forget about it. Burying waste in a big hole in the ground is not a solution and is creating problems for our children and children’s children to deal with in the future.

Rotting food in our landfills is currently the second largest source of methane emissions by people.

Hopefully I am talking to the converted here anyway, so let’s move on!

Bokashi vs Garburator

From time to time, I meet someone who proudly states that they have ‘no food waste’, only to be disappointed a few seconds later when they explain that everything goes into their garburator. Fortunately, garburators are becoming less popular; some cities have even taken steps to ban the use of garburators.

So, why are garburators bad?

Firstly, they put a huge strain on our water and sewage system by adding high levels of nitrogen which may get into our natural waterways, they use clean drinking water to dispose of organic matter, and frequently cause blockages in our sewage systems, particularly in cities relying on older systems. When using a garburator we are putting clean, useable material into a system from which it then needs to be cleaned and treated.

A study in Metro Vancouver in 2014 suggested that it costs $1000 to process a tonne of food scraps from the sewage system, compared to $100 per tonne in the green bin. The actual costs from studies vary widely but they consistently show that food in our sewage system is more expensive to process than food separated for compost.

Garburators may, in fact, be worse than putting your food scraps straight in the garbage. In many cases, the food scraps are screened out at the water treatment plant and sent to the landfill. After putting strain on our sewage system, wasting water and going through costly processing it just ends up being burnt or buried in a landfill anyway.

Bokashi vs Green Bin

Many municipalities and regional districts are looking to remove the organics from the landfill. Locally this has come in the guise of the 2015 food scraps ban across Metro Vancouver and CVRD. This is not just happening here in BC but also across the world; for example, France has just passed legislation which bans supermarkets from throwing away unsold food. Many countries and regions provide organic and food scrap collection or drop points for residents to try and encourage people to think before throwing compostable waste into the black garbage bin or their garburator.

Putting food scraps into your green bin is a great improvement over the garbage can or your garburator but it isn’t without its pitfalls. Organic collection brings more diesel pick-up vehicles to our cities to take the food scraps to an industrial composting facility. More trucks are then needed to transport the final compost product to our gardens where it is needed.

Bokashi vs Home Composting

Home composting is a great solution for most households and allows our gardens to benefit from our food scraps. Many people recoil at the idea of a black compost bin in the garden with concerns about smell, rats (and other unwelcome visitors) and worries about green: brown ratios. Some people have very successful compost piles and worm composting bins in their gardens. Alas, I am not one of those people. My attempts have always ended in smelly putrid piles feeding the local wildlife. That is until I discovered bokashi composting.

So what is bokashi composting?

Bokashi composting harnesses good bacteria and microbes to provide a fast and easy way to compost all of your food scraps. Basically, bokashi composting takes all the hassle out of home composting.  Simply add all your food waste to your kitchen composter, sprinkle on a small amount of bokashi bran which is infused with the healthy microbes. Repeat each day until your kitchen composter is full (roughly two weeks) and leave for a further two weeks. During that time, the microbes will be getting to work pickling and fermenting your food scraps. After two weeks, you can simply bury the pickled food scraps (pre-compost) directly into your garden.  It takes just two more weeks for the pre-compost to be assimilated into the soil, and be ready for planting. Repeat and enjoy watching your garden flourish. It really is that simple and can be done on any scale; you just need a small patch of ground (or a few large containers on your balcony) to bury the pre-compost.



Bokashi composting has completely changed my attitude towards home composting.


Visit Bokashi Living’s website (click the logo below) to watch step by step videos on bokashi composting and to learn more about the process.


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