Bokashi culture pickles poo
I know. Kind of an odd topic, but while off grid waste management is seemingly without surprise, here’s a tip I picked up last year: Bokashi style composting toilets.
Bokashi is Japanese for “fermented organic matter.” You make an inoculate or microbe laden mash and by combining it with various organic materials use it to ferment and very rapidly compost those materials. That’s the theory.
Sawdust toilet test
My organic material will be, er, my material. What I’m trying is a variant on the “sawdust composting bucket” toilet. Essentially identical, except that you add a microbe to the sawdust to facilitate the digestion of your wastes.
Neat idea comes with a host of benefits
- The waste is said to compost in weeks as opposed to months or years
- The waste material is safer to handle. Like yogurt the material has been through a microbial digestive process eating bad bacteria
- Claims to minimize or eliminate odours
So how do you make it?
Well. Turns out it’s ridiculously easy.
Start by making the microbial stuff
1) save your rinse water from making rice. I make basmati rice quite often. I usually soak it for 15 minutes. I used a cup of water from this rice soaking as my starter.
Let the rinse water sit in a jar in a cool corner of the kitchen for a week. Or ten days if you forget its there.
2) after ten days take a half gallon of milk in a disposable container. Add the aged rice water. Let it sit in a dark corner lightly covered (fermentation will occur) for two weeks. Under the sink perhaps.
This time set an alarm on your calender.
3) after two weeks you’ll have murky water below (your culture) and milk curds floating on top. I used a flour sifter to screen out the curds while pouring the microbe rich water into a bucket. I then added more water (about double) and a tablespoon of maple syrup (to feed the culture). Molasses is recommended but I didn’t have any. I would think any sugar would work.
Mix with bran or in my case horse bedding
d) after resting the cultured water for a few days because I had other stuff to do: pour the cultured water over your compost toilet material. i use wood chip bedding for horses as it is real cheap.
e) use the now slightly damp material as you would normally.
Smells good. Boy was that easy. The creation process worked.
After two days of use:
I have used the inoculated material for the “sawdust” in a composting bucket toilet for two days.
I unearth some material. It has changed texture and resembles chocolate pudding. There is no odour other than a faint sweet smell.
I find the sniff test weird. At first you’re sure this test won’t be nice and you sort of delicately sniff. And then you’re like. Hmmm. So you sniff a little deeper. But you’re still not smellin’ nothin’ bad. So what are you going to do but move closer.
There is no bad smell.
I have rested the “material” in the my last bucket of the season as I am back using the envirolet muldering toilet now.
I am pleased and surprised. The material is black and firm uniformly throughout. The texture is, as you can see, granular.
I think I give the bokashi technique for off grid waste management two full thumbs up. Highly recommended for anyone camping or using an off grid home site.