Using Bokashi to Achieve Zero Waste

Solana staff and volunteers at one of the sorting stations.

Solana Center is spearheading the use of the Bokashi composting method to divert food waste generated by public events. On September 12th, Solana Center partnered with the San Diego Botanic Garden and the City of Encinitas to divert waste generated at the Garden Gala, the Garden’s annual fundraising event. Public events leave behind large amounts of trash, much of which could be recycled or composted. Unfortunately, most event-generated waste ends up in the landfill.

Solana Center was able to divert 97% of the waste generated by the Garden Gala. Here are the numbers:

  • 533 pounds of “waste” material were collected and sorted
  • 73% composted using Bokashi method
  • 24% recycled

What is Zero Waste?
The concept of Zero Waste has become increasingly popular as people learn how much waste can be reused, rather than disposed of. Zero Waste refers to systematically conserving and recovering all resources, rather than incinerating or burying them in the landfill.

The Problem with Food Waste
The EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash, constituting 21 percent of discarded municipal solid waste. When organic waste is dumped in the landfill, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Why Use Bokashi?
Food waste can be recovered and composted instead of ending up in the landfill. The Bokashi composting method is used for composting all food waste, including meat and dairy and liquids. It was developed in Japan and used to ferment food prior to composting. The process uses lactobacillus bacteria to predigest waste matter, which diminishes noxious odors and decreases composting time. It is similar to the process used for making yogurt, cheese, and sauerkraut.

Solana Center sells Bokashi bran for $15 a gallon bag on Tuesdays and Thursdays 8:30am-4pm, and offers classes on how to do Bokashi composting at home.

For more information contact our Education Program Manager, Diane Hazard at (760) 436-7986 x217.

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