The Brilliance of Bokashi

A gateway to composting in small spaces

Zoë Poulsen


Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

With our population growing worldwide, and the ongoing increase in the number of people living in urban areas, finding sustainable ways to use our green waste is becoming an increasingly widespread challenge.

The good news is that there are a range of different ways we can reduce our green waste footprint, and reduce the amount of trash that goes to landfill.

Keeping organic food waste out of the trash can

Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash

So why is it important to avoid throwing organic food waste into the trash? This is a form of waste that is biodegradable, meaning that it decomposes over time.

Organic waste includes any material that has originated from a plant or an animal, such as coffee grounds, egg shells, leftover food, cut flowers, vegetable peelings, and much more.

When organic food waste breaks down, it emits a type of gas known as methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

By simply throwing our organic waste in the trash, we are contributing to this growing problem.

However, with careful handling and responsible disposal, organic waste can be converted into nutrient rich compost even in the smallest of home spaces. One of the ways this can be done is by making your own bokashi.

What is bokashi?

Photo by Bethany Szentesi on Unsplash

The word “bokashi” is the Japanese term for fermented organic matter. The concept and process was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Teuro Higa at the University of Ruyukyus in Okinawa, Japan.

Making bokashi involves layering organic food waste in a specially designed sealable bucket with an innoculant such as wheat bran.

A liquid known as bokashi tea can then be drained from the mixture during the fermentation process, which takes around ten days to complete.



Zoë Poulsen

Botanist, freelance writer and conservationist based in Cape Town at the heart of South Africa’s Cape Floristic Region.