Get composting

In partnership with Circular Homes, we’ve started a Bokashi composting programme alongside the regular composting scheme.

Bring us your kitchen waste, layered with Bokashi, and we’ll use it to feed the soil. Read on to find out exactly how this works.

Overview

Bokashi is an odourless composting system that uses naturally fermented Bokashi bran to break down food waste and enrich the soil, while reducing our dependency on landfills. In the Somerset West Village Garden, Bokashi adds enormous value at a low cost. It decreases the need for fertiliser and pesticides, significantly reducing our gardening expenses.

It differs from regular composting in a number of critical ways: It’s incredibly quick – two weeks is all that’s needed for the organisms to do their work; it doesn’t attract rats and flies; and crucially, it composts all types of food waste, including meat scraps and cheese.

This last benefit aligns with the garden’s objectives in more ways than one – as it has the added benefit of ridding bins of food scraps. The sad reality of homelessness is desperate hunger, which has created the “bin-scratching” phenomenon all too common in our suburbs. By introducing the Bokashi system, the bins will become free from food scraps – food which is usually past its sell-by date and which can cause serious illness to bin-scratchers. Our hope is that if the scratchers are no longer able to glean food from the bins, they may be encouraged to join the our programme (as well as those of the Helderberg Street People’s Centre) – where they can receive proper nourishment and even improve their employment prospects.

Fast Facts

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Hassle Free

Easy, quick and clean

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Suitable for all food scraps

You can include all types of food waste such as left-over meat scraps or cheese.

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Pest Free

Unlike traditional composting of scraps, rats and other vermin are not attracted to the buried fermented product.

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Stench Free

Because the system is kept sealed, there is no putrid or foul smell of decomposition to worry about, and it won’t attract flies.

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100% Natural & Safe

It is completely natural and safe for you, your family, your pets and the environment.

Getting Started

As a Bokashi donor, your home composting process is hassle-free, pest-free, stench-free and 100% safe.
Here’s how to get going:

Buy a Bokashi starter kit

R200 will buy

1kg Bokashi bran
1 plastic bucket with lid (20 litre)

Most households will want an extra bucket or two. We have extra buckets for R100 each, or three for R270.

We recommend getting the three, but you can take it as it comes and just get more buckets as you figure out how many you’ll need.

If you just need to buy Bokashi, it is R100 per kg.

Throw your daily kitchen waste into the bucket

You can include all types of food waste such as left-over meat scraps or cheese. Just chop up any large bits of waste before adding them to the system.

Sprinkle some Bokashi bran on top

Put the lid back on the bucket

Bring us your full bucket

When the bucket is full, bring it to the garden and we’ll give you an empty bucket in exchange.

Giving back to Nature

The science behind Bokashi 

While often referred to as a type of composting, Bokashi – a Japanese term meaning ‘fermented organic matter’ – is actually an anaerobic (excludes oxygen) fermentation process, which results in a very different end product than that produced via composting.

Oxygen-free = stench free = pest free

As an anaerobic fermentation process, air is excluded, with micro-organisms breaking down the constituents of the food waste until they are effectively “pickled”. During fermentation, it’s oxygen that causes the putrid smells. With the Bokashi system, the lack of oxygen and low acidity prevent the formation of organisms that produce gas and smells, and any already present will not be able to survive – they will be consumed by the anaerobic organisms that thrive when oxygen is absent.

Bokashi fermenting helps reduce greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, as well as bad smells like hydrogen sulphide and ammonia usually associated with scrap composting. It is also much, much faster than conventional composting – taking just two weeks for the organisms to do their work, rapidly converting waste into to rich nutrients for the plants.

Bokashi bran is the key player in this process; it’s a naturally fermented product made up of wheat bran, rice bran, purified and structured water, sugarcane blackstrap molasses, mineral rock salt and SCD Probiotics technology.

Once the fermented food waste is added to the soil, it breaks down completely and adds valuable nutrients to lawns and gardens. A healthy balance of microbes is also returned to the soil, re-establishing the required microbial counts present in good soil.

This method improves soil structure by increasing the soil’s ability to retain water and vital nutrients and antioxidants, resulting in vigorous and healthy plant growth. It also stabilises pH levels, suppresses plant disease, promotes earthworms and can even help break up clay-based soils.