When I think of bokashi I think of sustainability, recycling and doing my part to enhance the environment. The bokashi bran is made with all natural ingredients and is not harmful to animals or the environment. Unfortunately, in order to ferment food scraps, you must have a container to begin the fermenting process.
Buying a Bokashi Fermenting Bin
There are all types of ready-made bokashi bins available. The prices range from $20 to $80. On top of the cost to purchase the item, there are the packaging material and shipping costs. Shipping costs include the dollars and cents charge for shipping and the fuel expenditure in getting it from one place to the other. Those costs only represent the consumer’s side of the equation.
Ready Made Bins
I cannot say for sure what packaging and shipping processes take place on the manufacturer and retail side. All I know is when I first thought of going into the “bokashi business” I thought of creating neat looking fermenting buckets with the Hudson Valley Bokashi logo printed on the side, just above the spigot.
After investigating the costs of purchasing the buckets, lids, false bottom for tea collection and spigots, I realized it could prove to be costly. The bucket and lid manufacturer is not in the spigot creation business and visa versa. As far as the false bottom goes, that was a whole ‘nother story.
Bottom line, to create one bucket, it would require shipping costs, packaging and fuel expenditure to get the components to one place for assembly. Putting everything together is simple, but getting the items in one place is costly both in shipping charges and carbon footprint.
Making Your Own Bin
There are several ways to make your own bokashi bin and the costs involved are a fraction of what it costs to manufacture and purchase a ready-made bin. Whether you use a 5-gallon paint bucket, 4-gallon, kitty litter container or purchase a 5-gallon Rubbermaid water container from a garage sale, the financial and environmental costs are reduced.
My first bokashi fermenting bin cost less than $5 and I’ve been using the bin ever since. It was created using a 5-gallon bucket and lid from Home Depot, the cap of an old lotion tube, a few Styrofoam plates and 4 plastic one-ounce shot glasses from the dollar store (the shot glasses came 24 in a pack so I was able to make several bins with one package).
Some people aren’t interested in the bokashi tea. For those folks, a simple bucket and lid are enough. A thick layer of newspaper or bokashi bran at the bottom of the bucket will absorb the tea. However, since I’ve found the tea to be the secret elixir for healthy houseplants, I opted for a spigot.
Home Made Bokashi Bin Option 1
- Two 5-gallon buckets
The easiest way to make a bokashi bin is to use two 5-gallon buckets. Drill holes in the bottom of one bucket and sit it inside the other bucket. When the tea drains from the first bucket into the second. Just lift the first bucket to access the tea in the second buckets. Simple and easy.
Home Made Bokashi Bin Option 2 (a little more labor intensive but still easy)
- 5-gallon bucket
- Duct tape
- Crazy glue
- Caulk (optional)
- Three 10.5-inch Styrofoam plates (optional)
- Plastic Shot glasses (optional)
Since I store my bokashi bin under the kitchen sink, option 1 didn’t work for me. My cabinet didn’t have the necessary height to accommodate the two buckets. Instead, I modified a 5-gallon bucket by drilling a hole near the bottom to insert the spigot (or in my case the lotion cap). Look around your house to see what you can use.
If you’re stumped, then you might have to purchase a spigot, but get creative before resorting to the obvious. Remember, reduce, reuse and recycle. Sustainability = Creativity. There’s got to be something around the house you can use as a spigot or spout.
After inserting the cap (glued with crazy glue) I put a little caulking around the opening to prevent leaking. If you don’t have caulk, duct tape on the inside of the container works just as well.
I chose to insert a false bottom to allow the liquid to drain. This is not absolutely necessary. The liquid will naturally drain to the bottom of the bucket. As long as you have some type of spout, you’ll be able to drain the liquid out. False bottoms are not required.
That being said, I still opted for a false bottom (aka bokashi drain plate which cost anywhere from $18 to $24 when purchased separately). I took 3 Styrofoam plates and taped them together with duct tape. I used three because I didn’t know if one or two would crumble under the weight of the food.
I poked holes in the plate for drainage and then glued 4 plastic shot glasses to the bottom of the plate. I then placed the plates into the bucket with the shot glasses resting on the bottom of the bucket. It creates a 1 to 2-inch gap between the food scraps and the bucket bottom to allow liquid to accumulate.
Once all the glue dried, the bucket was ready to go. This bokashi bin may not be as pretty as those that come in a set costing $80, but it’s just as functional.
Please share your bokashi bucket-making experience. It will help to motivate those who are a little afraid of do-it-yourself projects.
BTW, because I made extra buckets, I was able to give a few away to friends to get them started using bokashi (hint, hint).
Bokashi Fermenting Container Update
After writing this post, it was brought to my attention that some folks just don’t want to create their own bokashi container. For folks that either don’t have the tools, time or inclination to create a bucket, we offer bokashi fermenting buckets here. These buckets don’t have a false bottom as mentioned above. Even if you don’t want to create a bucket, you can always make a false bottom if you so choose (or you can spend $25 to purchase one).
Instead of the false bottom, these buckets have a mesh screen covering the inside of the spigot to prevent small particles from escaping with the bokashi tea.