Adding bokashi to my outdoor aerated bin expedites the composting process for the bin. I thought it was because it made the bin hotter. If this is true, does it get hot enough to breakdown compostible utensils and lids?
Adding Bokashi certainly expedites the composting process of an outdoor compost pile. But this is not because it increases the temperature specifically. Rather, its because adding bokashi introduces a host of new beneficial microbes, which immediately act and multiply on the organic matter within the pile. Microbes are the building blocks of any compost pile, and when they are present, in quantity, the macrobial life (worms, bugs, and visible life) will expand and multiply around them. This creates the healthy compost pile, and healthy compost, that we want.
In home composting, we do not want our piles to get hot enough to break down ‘compostable’ utensils and lids. In fact, a home compost pile will rarely be big enough to generate the amount of heat needed to break these materials down. Nor do we want it to. If the pile got that hot, then the heat would also kill off the very life we want to have in our compost pile; the microbial and macrobial life in the compost which serves to enhance our gardens so effectively.
Municipal composting systems, where our city curbside green bins generally end up, meet the criteria of ‘hot’ composting. These piles are large enough to generate the heat needed to break down these compostable containers, utensils and lids. However, the ‘dead’ compost that results is no match to what the home compost bin creates. Our advice: stick to your home compost for your own gardens as much as possible. Keep it up, year round, and pay attention to it. And keep adding bokashi to it for best results. And leave these fringe ‘compostable’ items for the curbside green bin (or the garbage if you don’t have organics pick-up).