Bokashi: a new (old) way to compost

Vokashi is a locally-based organization that seeks to bring urban-friendly composting options to New York. The organization was inspired by a similar New Zealand organization, who adapted the Japanese “bokashi” composting practice. Bokashi relies on fermentation, and accelerates the composting process without oxygen (known as an “anaerobic” process).  This differs from traditional aerobic composting methods, which rely on oxygen to break down the organic matter.

Bokashi practitioners collect food scraps in an airtight container and add an EM (efficient microogranisms) mix which assists in the fermentation process. Users claim that bokashi is uniquely apartment- and office-friendly, since the use of fermentation accelerates the composting process while reducing smell and mess. Another benefit of the process is that bokashi composting won’t attract pests.

Vokashi members exchange buckets each month for fresh buckets and bran (Vokashi’s preferred EM mix). There are small monthly fees to cover pick-up and delivery, as well as material costs. It may be worthwhile investment if you’re not interested in hauling your compost to a greenmarket yourself, or if you live communely or collaboratively with neighbors. Vokashi could also make composting a viable, low-maintenance option for your workplace.

If you’re not quite ready to take the leap, you can learn more about different ways that New Yorkers approach composting through research, or by attending workshops and events.

Image: EcoPlum