Sustainable Blog

Bokashi

Compost meat and dairy with microbes.

[Bokashi bin set](http://fa.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%BE%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87:Bokashi_bin_set.JPG)

We’ve talked about how to compost in your apartment with worms (vermicomposting), and there are a variety of systems to compost in your backyard, but what can you do with the leftover meat and dairy that other composts won’t take? Bokashi is a perfect solution.

Bokashi is a mixture of microorganisms that is known as a Bokashi ‘bran’, and it has its origins in the Far East. The roots of Bokashi are found in the natural farming methods traditionally practiced in Korea, and in the discovery of essential microorganisms in Japan by Dr. Teruo Hiya in the 1980’s.

Dr. Higa’s special blend of EM (essential microorganisms) came out of studying the ways that microorganisms were beneficial to plant growth. His blend was first used in 1982 in Japan and now is marketed in 120 countries worldwide.

If you want to make your own Bokashi mixture, it’s not necessarily easy, but there are some great online resources for DIY types.

Bokashi is odorless and pest free because it works with an airtight anaerobic process of fermentation. The Bokashi bucket must be completely airtight with a faucet at the bottom so you can drain out the ‘tea’.

Bokashi ‘tea’ is a nutrient rich liquid that forms at the bottom of the Bokashi bucket as a result of the heat created by the composting process.

The great thing about Bokashi composting is that you can put meat and dairy in the bin, foods that are difficult to compost with other methods. The other plus is the speed of Bokashi composting – it takes only 2 weeks to compost a full bin of food waste. Additionally, the lack of smell and airtight nature of the containers make them perfect for indoor and apartment composting.

If you want to keep composting continuously, it’s best to get two buckets. That way you can fill one bucket with waste and then begin filling the other bucket while the first is going through its 14 day fermentation cycle.

Whichever way you decide to compost, you can be sure that you are doing your part to curb the problem of food waste in America by keeping that waste out of landfills. Americans waste approximately 40% of the food that is purchased. So in addition to composting, make sure you only buy what you need and eat what you have in your fridge.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.