As sustainability and environmental consciousness continue to gain momentum, finding effective ways to manage food waste has become a pressing concern. For condo dwellers, the challenge of limited space and odor control adds an extra layer of complexity to the equation. However, there is a practical and innovative solution that addresses these issues head-on: bokashi composting.
In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of bokashi composting and discuss how it can be seamlessly incorporated into your condo lifestyle. From its step-by-step implementation process to the benefits it offers, we will delve into the reasons why bokashi composting has emerged as a game-changer for managing food waste in urban settings.
What is Bokashi Composting?
Bokashi is the Japanese term for ‘fermented food waste.’ This composting method was developed by Dr. Teuro Higa, a professor in the University of Ryukyus, back in the early 1980s.
Bokashi is ideal for city living as it only needs a couple of materials and can be easily done even in small spaces like apartment or condominium unit. It involves layering your kitchen waste mixed and pressed down with bokashi bran or beneficial microbes in a special bucket. This special compost bin is sealed shut for ten to twelve days.
Bokashi Composting vs. Traditional Composting
Unlike traditional composting that uses aerobic method in breaking down organic waste, bokashi composting utilizes certain types of bacteria that doesn’t require air to thrive. Furthermore, bokashi composting can handle any solid food waste– even meat and diary products which are usually a no-no in traditional composting.
Technically speaking, bokashi is a way of fermenting waste so it can be easily be broken down further in the composting process. Since the final product is still acidic to add directly to plants, the final stage of bokashi composting involves adding the bokashi matter in a compost pile or bin.
Bokashi Composting 101
With its unique fermentation process and compact design, bokashi composting provides a practical and efficient way to transform kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich compost without the typical drawbacks associated with composting in confined living spaces.
Learn all the basics of bokashi process by following these steps:
Gather your materials
Before you can even start with the composting process, you need to collect the necessary materials first. First off, you will need a special type of bucket that has a spigot or faucet at the bottom– the bokashi bucket or bokashi bin. The spigot is essential to drain the liquid by-product of the process to avoid any foul odor. This liquid is called the ‘bokashi tea’ and is an extremely nutritious treat for your plants!
Layer your kitchen scraps
Next, it’s time to prepare your bokashi compost. Layer your kitchen waste– leftover food, rotten fruits, vegetable peelings and other organic materials like dead leaves, wood clippings, or saw dust then add your bokashi bran.
Every layer of food waste should be covered with bokashi bran. Press the layers down (using your hand or a kitchen plate) firmly to release air– creating the perfect anaerobic environment. Store the bokashi bin outside under direct sunlight.
Continue layering your kitchen scraps until your bucket is full.
Drain the liquid
Make sure to check on your bin from time to time and drain the liquid as a result of the fermentation process. This compost tea can be diluted and added to your plants as fertilizer.
Create a fallow spot
After roughly two weeks, the fermented organic matter should have shrinked down and throughly picket with a faint sour smell. This bokashi pre compost is still acidic to be given directly to your plant roots that’s why you need to transfer it to your fallow patch (a bare spot or separate soil in your balcony garden) to complete the decomposition process. After two weeks, your bokashi compost should be ready to be feed directly to your plant or mixed with garden soil.
Advantages of Bokashi Composting
Bokashi composting can such a great alternative to traditional composting methods due to the following reasons:
Quicker than traditional composting
Unlike traditional composting that can take up to several months to break down food scraps and tranform them into fertilizer, the bokashi method only takes a couple of weeks up to a month, thanks to the anaerobic process of breaking down organic materials.
Traditional composting has a reputation of emitting strong, foul odors which can be extremely unpleasant if you are living in apartment or condominiums. The airtight design of the bokashi system prevents foul smells from escaping, making it suitable for indoor use without causing any unpleasant odors in your condo.
Bokashi composting requires minimal space, making it ideal for small living spaces like condos. The compact bins can easily fit under sinks or in closets, making it a convenient waste management solution.
Bokashi composting can handle a wide variety of organic waste, including meat, dairy, and citrus fruits, which may not be suitable for traditional composting methods. This versatility allows you to compost a larger range of kitchen scraps.
The final product of bokashi composting is a nutrient-rich compost known as bokashi compost. This compost can enhance the soil quality and support the growth of healthy plants.
By implementing bokashi composting in your condo, you can significantly reduce the amount of organic waste that goes to landfill. This waste diversion helps minimize greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to a more sustainable environment.
Living in smaller spaces like a condo unit shouldn’t discourage us from properly managing our wastes. In fact, we should be more proactive towards managing our wastes, especially the ones that detoriate easily.
Bokashi composting is an innovative and effective method of composting that can be a great alternative for eliminating waste in your condominium. It offers several advantages over traditional composting methods and is particularly well-suited for urban environments where space and odor control may be a concern.
By embracing bokashi composting, you can play an active role in reducing landfill waste, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions, and nurturing a sustainable living environment within the confines of your condo.