Solutions for Apartment Dwellers: Bokashi Composting

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At least 60 percent of the U.S. population lives in multifamily homes like apartments, which can make composting more difficult. When you don’t have a backyard to toss your scraps, where do they go? Fortunately, more cities are taking steps toward being sustainable and are offering solutions for multifamily dwellers. Cities including San Francisco, Seattle, and Boulder, Colo., all offer curbside composting pickup.

But what do you do if you don’t have someone conveniently picking up your leftover food? A growing number of companies are introducing composting systems for small spaces, proving that composting in the city doesn’t need to be a chore.

One of these systems is Bokashi, a unique method of composting that works especially well for apartment dwellers. Unlike most methods of composting where the food rots, with Bokashi, the food actually ferments (or pickles) while it’s being broken down.

In other composting methods, the rotting process can fully break down the waste. In the Bokashi method, the waste is fermented by micro-organisms in an anaerobic process. Then when it’s safe, the waste is buried in the ground where soil microbes finish the work.

You do need the right equipment to make Bokashi composting work. Here’s a look at the process:

  • Each day, you’ll add all of your food scraps (even meat and cheese can be included in Bokashi!) into the bucket.
  • Some people save scraps in the freezer and add them less frequently.
  • Then you’ll sprinkle a special culture powder over the food.
  • After that, you place a pressure plate on top of the scraps and seal the bucket to ensure no oxygen can enter the system.

The Bokashi fermenting system is 10 times faster than other composting methods and it works year-round. It typically takes about seven to 14 days for the food to get to a state where it can safely be put in the ground.

Bonus: Since the system is sealed, there should be no foul smells coming from your composter. It also won’t attract flies, rats or other vermin.

If you live in the city, you might be thinking, “Where am I supposed to put these food scraps in the ground?” You’ll find services that will pick up your Bokashi fermented food scraps in many cities. In New York City, Vokashi is one service to look into.

Still uncertain if Bokashi composting is right for you? Check out these videos to learn more.

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What is your favorite method of composting for apartment dwellers?

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock

Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.