What is Bokashi Composting?

Posted by Eric Lancaster on

Bokashi is powder made of certified-organic rice bran. This powder is commonly used to activate anaerobic fermentation; a method of food waste recycling that has many advantages to traditional composting. The Bokashi concept is based on an ancient Japanese farming practice, where farmers used microbe rich soil to break down food and harvest waste, creating a nutrient dense humus for fertilizing future fields.

Decomposition, or rotting, is usually a result of anaerobic microbes, microbes that require little to no oxygen. These putrefying microbes dominate the materials, releasing foul smelling gases in the process. The more commonly known composting methods use microbes that require oxygen...lots of it. If poorly managed, even aerobic composting can produce lots of odors and attract all kinds of pests. And, aerobic composting can also be very time-consuming, laborious and inefficient.

The Bokashi method is anaerobic, but is not putrefactive or rotting. Bokashi anaerobic composting utilizes microorganisms that require little to know oxygen (they are known as facultative) to break down organic materials. For this reason, the process generates few if any bad smelling by-products and, compared to traditional composting, requires very little oversight or time. Bokashi is far more convenient than traditional composting and is so innocuous, that you can perform it indoors. Since the microbes do not require oxygen, the process can be contained within an airtight space and once the process is complete, you simply add the nutrient-rich humus to your garden, worm bed, animal feed or lawn.

Benefits of Bokashi Composting:


  • Effective breaks down food waste including heavier items that traditional composting cannot, including dairy, fish and meat.
  • No noxious byproduct, which means no disgusting smell and no greenhouse gases. The final Bokashi product has a sweet, pickled smell as opposed to a rancid decomposition smell.
  • An enclosed system guards against attracting insect and pests, a major drawback of traditional composting that must be left in “open air” so that the compost pile microbes have access to oxygen.
  • Takes approximately two weeks to complete, much faster than traditional composting! And Bokashi bran powder can be coupled with Super Cera (Super C) Powder to create EM-1 Bokashi for super accelerated composting.
  • Minimal involvement required – no turning or monitoring green to brown ratios. Simply add food scraps and the bran, and walk away. The microorganisms do the rest. After two week, bury the fermented matter wherever you want to enhance plant life and the compost will fully break down in the soil over the next 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Super compact! No more need for backyard space… Bokashi bins can fit in a pantry or under the sink. This makes Bokashi ideal for businesses and urban dwellers (or anyone sick of maintaining their traditional compost heap’s green to brown ratio.)
  • Super-efficient! The materials break down quickly in a small amount of space… and since the process is contained, no nutrients are lost.

What you need to get started with Bokashi:

  • Unwanted food waste
  • Bokashi rice bran or EM Bokashi for accelerated composting
  • A Bokashi Bucket / Composting Bin - should be compact and feature a flexible, easy-open, air-tight lids. The Deluxe Bokashi Bucket Fermenter is also infused with EM-X® Ceramic powders that accelerate the fermentation process.
  • Having two buckets on hand is even more convenient as you can switch them out quickly for greater efficiency.
  • Consider a Bokashi bin featuring a spigot if you want to use compost tea during the two week cycle.
  • A space to bury the resulting fermented contents of the Bokashi bin (garden beds, pots, etc).

That’s it! It’s obvious why Bokashi is considered the easiest food recycling method available. Give it a try, and you’ll never go back to aerobic food waste composting again!

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