December 28, 2016

Bokashi Buckets – What is the story?

You may have heard about Bokashi Buckets but have no idea what they are about? Here is our low down on the indoor composting system.

To keep things honest around here, I actually do not own a bokashi bin, but desperately want one. I am using worms for my composting at present (I love those little guys!) but since my worms are not fond of citrus, eggs shells or meat scraps I am now looking for a new system to compliment my worm farm. This is where the Bokashi research has begun.

What is Bokashi?

Bokashi is a method of composting. It uses a process called anaerobic fermentation. Bokashi is usually made with molasses, water, effective microorganisms (EM) and wheat bran. The EM are natural lactic acid bacteria, yeast, and phototrophic bacteria that act as a microbe community within the kitchen scraps, fermenting and accelerating breakdown of the organic matter.

How to use Bokashi Bins

This indoor composting system uses a airtight container that is filled with Bokashi EM mix.  You then place layers of kitchen and food scraps the layer with the EM mix. This will then break down in the bin and can be either feed in small amounts to a worm farm, or added into your outdoor compost bins.

From what I have read around on the internet, the Bokashi Bins don’t really have a smell. They occasionally can smell a little sickly sweet with the fermentation but make sure you have an air tight lid to avoid any smells.

The Bokashi Bin System

Basically when you buy a Bokashi Bin system you are going to get a airtight container that has an aerated grill and tap at the bottom, a packet of EM mix which looks like a shredded hay and some kits have a little masher tool to press the contents down.

How long does it take to fill?

This would depend on how much you add to the system! Commonly people have 2 bokashi bins going so that when one is full, you can start on your new bin while the other bin continues to ferment for an extra 2 weeks that is required before adding to your compost,  garden, or worms.

So far the reviews and news about bokashi bins is very positive! From people living in apartments to big family homes these are a great part of your kitchen waste system. My home which is a 2 bedroom unit would be perfect for this system considering my worms are slow eaters!

Have you got a bokashi bin, and what are your opinion on it? Does it smell, do you spend a lot of money on the bokashi mixes, are you even able to make your bokashi mix at home?

I would love hear more about them from people who use them!

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  1. Well for those who are not very fond of worms (like me^^ sorry for your little guys^^)the Bokashi buckets is a very good alternative !
    Since it is a closed box it doesn’t smell, there is just a slight smell when you open it because of the fermentation and that’s it.
    And yeah, unlike worms you can put almost every kitchen scraps in it.
    You should definitely try it!


  2. I have one of the buckets, and while the compost doesn’t smell inside the bin with the lid secured, it DOES smell and is quite sloppy when emptied into the outside compost bin. I think the best solution is to have at least two buckets so that the compost can decompose further in one while the other bucket is being filled, but I have yet to try this as they are quite expensive.

    • Thanks for the tip Frank.
      I am still looking at the buckets but now will save up some more money and invest in 2 instead of 1.

      The thought of smelling the rotting food in my kitchen when I open and close the lid is very off-putting! I might have to consider sitting the buckets outside instead!

    • Bunning’s sell a 19l Morgan bucket and lid… (very rigid ribbed design with a good seal)…it is only $14.98.
      A drain tap is easily fitted for <$5 (Bunning's garden section). So a decent bokashi bucket for $20.
      PS. I used an old cake airer in the bottom of the bucket to allow the fermenting miux to drain freely.
      Good luck. Bob

  3. I made my own buckets and have two so one can sit for a couple more weeks to ferment a little further. The only time I find that it gets smelly is when I don’t empty the liquid often enough (as my homemade buckets don’t have taps it can sometimes be a bit more of a chore). The liquid is great fertliser though (diluted of course) and I love that I can put just about anything from the kitchen into the bucket. The bokashi mixture seems to last me for ages too. I keep mine outside now, but have kept it in the kitchen previously. I don’t empty the contents in the compost, but bury it in the back garden instead. It seems to do wonders for the soil!

    • Sounds great .

      what kind of buckets did you use? Just regular plastic tubs?
      How do you get the liquid out if it doesn’t have a tap attachment?

      I definitely want to get one started but the price was fairly prohibitive but if you don’t need the expensive bucket then really there is nothing stopping me!

  4. I imagine that if you drilled a hole the right size into the side (at the bottom) of a bucket you could put your own tap in. You can usually get something that will do the job at a hardware shop. You might want to think about adding something into the bottom of the bucket to add as a kind of sump, so that the composting matter doesn’t sit inside the liquid. like a worm farm. Just a idea!

  5. I use a broccoli box and layer with dry leaves so no sloppy mess.Really great and no smell.

  6. Well. I had one of these and kept it in the kitchen. It really did smell after just afew months. The tap that is included in bokashi sets tends to wear after a short term and the juice is very stinky. I’d recommend keeping it outside for sure. Emptying the solid material is also pretty messy and ultimately stinky. I’m not sure whether to give it another try to be honest, or just use a worm farm and no animal materials. The Bokashi system looks great in the short term, but after a few months, it’s like composting in your house! Plus you end up being addicted to expensive Bokashi mix. I like the idea of burying a steel bin in the garden with perforated holes in the bottom and a secure lid. Cheap “kitchen waste digester” – out of the way and über low maintenance (unlike Bokashi). Thoughts?