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Using Bokashi Bran, Bins & Buckets

Bokashi Bran, Bins & Buckets can be an amazing and inexpensive way to aid composting your kitchen waste as it can break down foods that traditionally take a very long time to decompose. Whilst this process is incredibly helpful, it is a science that needs some care and the right information before starting. Once you have the correct facts, bokashi composting can be a doddle so we have put together a guide on bokashi buckets, bokashi bran and bokashi bins so that you can make the right choices.

What is Bokashi?

Bokashi is a Japanese word that means ‘blurring’ that when applied to composting means ‘fading away’, or ‘fermenting’ and it basically means to ‘pickle’ food waste. The modern type of bran we use now was discovered by Dr Teuro Higa in Japan in 1982, although the method and procedure has been a means of creating soil conditioner for centuries before this. Hundreds of years ago people would dig holes, compact food waste and cover it with a natural ingredient such as leaves mixed with oats and sugar and put the dirt back on top and leave to compost and condition the soil. Bokashi’s popularity has grown as more people wish to live sustainably and get rid of kitchen waste in an eco-friendlier manner.

In its essence, Bokashi Bran is filled with useful microbes that help accelerate the composting process and creates the ideal environment for bacteria and carbon to thrive. The art of compacting food waste in a Bokashi Bucket or Bin amongst the bran means that in 4-6 weeks food waste is turned into pre-compost, which is much faster than regular composting. This microbial conversion requires little energy to break down hard to compost food waste and when Bokashi does its job, it serves as a rich food source for soil life. This means carbon is captured and kept in the soil, thus helping you to offset your carbon footprint.

image of single 23l bokashi bin

Getting the Bokashi process started

Depending on the amount of food waste you produce, your selection of Bokashi composting bin or Bucket will depend on your output. For example, a household with 3 or more people in it will possibly need a Double Bokashi Bin to deal with food scraps. A family of 5 or more would need the higher capacity 30L Stainless Steel Double Bokashi Bin’s or 27L Double Bokashi Bin’s. A smaller household or a family that does not produce much food waste that takes longer to decompose (for example a household of Vegans would not produce meat or dairy waste although items such as sweetcorn cobs are harder to decompose but still quicker than bones), a single 18L Bokashi Bucket or a single 23L Bokashi Bucket would be perfect. It is best to purchase a purpose built Bokashi Bin or Bucket as the lid needs to be tight on (preferably with clip down handles) and you need a tap to drain off the rich liquid plant food that is created. Without a tap, this liquid infiltrates your compost and can make it too soggy to use, also, it can end up being too hard to drain off for your plants. Imagine trying to carry a heavy bucket filled with compost then tipping it to drain off, not ideal!

Once you have made your decision, cover the bottom of your Bokashi compost bin with food waste and compact it down, add a sprinkle of Bokashi Bran over the waste, compact it down then add a handful of the bran and close the Bokashi Bin lid. Bokashi Buckets can process meat, dairy and animal bones, although do note that bones and hard waste will need clipping down first for maximum efficiency. The great thing about this is because the Bokashi has such a pleasant and thick smell, it overrides any horrid smells that come from rotting meat and dairy.

The process is as simple as adding food, compacting down, adding bran and compacting again, the separator tray will help drain the plant food away from the compost. Adding the lid properly will help performance. As Bokashi Composting is an anaerobic process, the food will need compacting down tightly and the Bokashi Bin lid will need to be secured to stop oxygen getting in.

image of bokashi bran

How to use the Bokashi compost

Compost produced from the Bokashi process is called ‘pre-compost’ this means it is not actually ready to be used on plants instantly. Pre-compost (similar to the fertiliser produced by food digesters) is quite acidic (almost like ericaceous compost) and needs to be put into a composter before adding to plants and vegetables. Alternatively, you can add a small amount of this mix to a Wormery with some lime mix and see if your worms process it.

After the Bokashi processed waste has been added into a composter, the fertiliser will fully break down in around a month, a lot quicker than if you had added the food waste straight into a composter. Do keep an eye on the pH level of your compost if you are adding a lot of Bokashi pre-compost as it can be affected.

Our Bokashi Bran

The Bokashi Bran that is found here at Original Organics is made from the best ingredients and is prepared in the United Kingdom. It is made from wheat bran, effective microorganisms (lactobacillus bacteria, phototrophic bacteria and yeast) water and sugars. The natural composition means some also use this as chicken feed. We receive many positive reviews for our Bokashi Bran and our kits, and many people come back to keep their projects going for years.

Bokashi is a soil enhancer that people have been doing for centuries to break down food waste such as bones and large vegetables. The recent addition of Bokashi bran just makes this process easier as now we can put our waste in a Bokashi Bin and leave to ‘pickle’ in our kitchens for a couple of weeks. By eliminating oxygen, the waste goes through an anaerobic process to break down at an accelerated process, although this does produce a rather acidic compost that needs working through before being added in to plants and vegetables. Still, this operation means difficult food waste becomes a healthy compost in a fraction of the time than it would have done if just added to a normal garden compost heap. If you are planning to start a Bokashi adventure of you own, it can kickstart your carbon offset efforts and can produce an amazing soil that the Earth desperately needs.

Explore our full Bokashi range on Original Organics.