It's proven itself as not only a good way of dealing with food leftovers, but also as a way of of keeping rotting food scaps out of our main kitchen and outside wheely bins - the rotting smell is always disgusting and it's a real health hazard.
Over those years we've also heard from a number of confused customers. Even if they understand that it uses an anaerobic process; a sealed, airless environment to help digest it's contents just like your stomach. An expectation is that the contents will become compost over a number of weeks while sealed - but it can't, and it doesn't.
COMPOSTER OR IMPOSTER?
The main confusion is that it's often sold as a 'composter' it sort of is but when in the bin it's more of a fermentation process which allows you to compost the contents more quickly, this in turn enriches the compost heap with it's multiplied beneficial microbes (also found naturally in the soil). So don't feel disheartened when ripping the lid off your full Bokashi bin you find a mouldy, vinegar-smelling mess staring back at you, that's good!
Bokashi is indeed part of the composting process. It's just that to get those EMs (Effective Microorganisms - which are part of the bran mix) to break down the food, it has to go to work in an airless and dark atmosphere. It doesn't actually compost the material on it's own. However, the beneficial microbes also stop the material from going foul, so if you ever get a black mould inside your bin (not a good sign) you just add a more Bokashi bran and a little shredded paper to bring it back from the brink - it just means you probably filled your bin with a lot of very wet material, but either way it can still be dug into your compost heap.
OKAY IT'S FULL, NOW WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?
We actually never put our Bokashi contents on our compost heap. We have found that it attracts local foxes for miles around and they dig it out. I would guess that's down to the distinct, acidic fermented apple smell it gives off. I prefer to dig my bucket contents straight into the ground - but not too close to the roots of sensitive plants. Dig down between a foot and 18 inches, tip it all in and prod it a bit with the spade, then cover with soil and pat down - it's great for rejuvenating the soil and the leftover liquid which drains though into the bucket's sump can be used neat as a drain cleaner.
Don't forget the liquid is quite acidic though, so handle carefully if you're not going to dilute it as a plant food.
Need more info on the bins?
Want to know more about EMs?