...that's “green” as in eco-, not mold, folks!
As such things go, bokashi's already pretty green. At-home bucket fermentation followed by composting, trenching, or use as animal feed diverts organics from landfill and reclaims nutrients that might otherwise be lost. The process uses no electricity and very little people-power, creates no waste beyond a bit of carbon dioxide if properly managed, and requires only a minimal investment in resources.
Minimal here being a relative term, of course. EM bokashi bran is a retail product, which must be manufactured (sort of), packaged (in packaging that must be manufactured), shipped, stored, and purchased. EM-1 and EM-Plus liquid inoculants likewise, though they require less packaging, shipping, etc. Some retailers use reclaimed bottles, others offer compostable plastic packaging for the EM bokashi bran, and my latest mail-order purchase came with cornstarch packing peanuts, so they're working on lessening the total environmental cost.
But every bokashi bucket I have ever seen for sale is plastic.
Some of them have EM mixed in, and those I'd really like to try some day, but for the most part, bokashi buckets are plastic because that's what cheapest, and there's just not that much money to spare in bokashi yet. Even so, the retail bokashi buckets aren't what I'd call cheap, just less expensive than hand-made porcelain with EM in the material.
(Which would be incredible. Any potters out there willing to give it a try?)
Among my circle of acquaintance are none of the uber-dedicated no-plastics folks, but several us of are trying to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives. We're giving up Tupperware for canning jars; have more fabric shopping bags than shirts (almost -G-), are dipping our toes into mesh bags for produce and have learned how to label tare weights on our reusable bulk-ingredient containers.
Bringing more plastic into our homes doesn't feel right any more. Personally, I make an exception for gardening since plastic containers are cheap or free and I really couldn't afford to grow as much of my food as I do without them. And bokashi is an integral part of my gardening these days, so it gets the same pass. But not all my friends are yet converted to the joys of bokashi—
—does that sound as cult-leaderish to everyone else as it does to me? Yikes!—
Anyway, I can't possibly ask my plastic-aware friends to give plastic buckets pride of place in their increasingly plastic-free homes. It's one thing to ask the gardeners if they'd be willing to foster a plastic bucket wearing a pillowcase hood out behind their garage, entirely another to insist they keep a cat litter bucket on their kitchen counter. With or without an industrial-sized spigot at the bottom.
So I've been playing with ceramic kitchen canisters. The white ones in the photo came from a local thrift store, and the set of three cost me $6.48. No spigots, so this isn't ideal for someone who wants a regular supply of liquid plant food/drain maintainer. But if you're not into bokashi juice... The clear plastic one was my trial, $1.08 from the dollar store, purchased so that I could make an informed recommendation about absorbent materials. (More than went in this batch!) Canisters can be purchased to match pretty much any décor, and they're much more discreet than even the commercial bokashi buckets, much less my home-cobbled versions. The gaskets prevent odor escape and insect entry, and as long as you're able to open them once a week during the two-week curing stage, don't seem to present any risk of re-enacting the Great Canning Disaster of '06 ™ . These don't offer much total capacity, but should be more than sufficient for the particular household; larger crocks are correspondingly more expensive, but a quick online search turned up several with prices comparable to the retail bokashi kits.
I have once or twice seen ceramic kombucha jars/vinegar jars/wide-mouthed ceramic beverage dispensers with non-metal spigots, and if I could afford a custom piece, I'd order one of those with a non-metal grate an inch above the bottom, plus an airtight lid in place of the filter-ring and cork. Though, actually, cork would work if the fit were sufficiently tight, you'd just have to be a little more careful about keeping the mouth clean.
Longer post than I intended. Takeaway message: bokashi doesn't have to be fermented in plastic containers. Ceramics work just fine. Strong glass can be used, with caution—I've taken to using a bubbler for AEM, and don't see any reason you couldn't use one for the bokashi as well. Metal won't work in the long run, since the acid will cause it to rust, but can be used for a few fermentations if that's what you've got. (I used a coffee can for a fermentation unit once, and have used metal sieves for false floors continuously for months before they rusted away. Presumably, metal sealed against oxidation would work even longer.) If you want to add bokashi to your life, it can be done even if you're avoiding plastics.
Ask your friendly neighborhood Cult of the Microbes representative today!
...who's obviously been drinking the