Friday, 16 August 2013

Tidy Friday - cashing in on the Bokashi!

I'm on a blogging break this week, so this is not your usual food waste blog post reporting on the week's food waste issues and decluttering, but a specially pre-prepared blog post.

A while ago, on one of my Food Waste Friday blog posts somebody mentioned the Bokashi food composting system, which I had vaguely heard about. Not long after, I was having a chat with our local health food shop owner about green cleaning, when the conversation turned to Libby Chan's - fermented cleaning products. (They're based on a Japanese idea and are all the rage apparently, they work really well and you can check them out here if you want an alternative to other more traditional green cleaning products.)

Libby's also produce their own Bokashi system, so with my Food Waste Friday hat on, I asked if I could take a photo. Here it is (alongside some other Libby's products). I know the idea of Food Waste Friday is not to have any, but if there is unavoidable food waste it's good to have a Plan B to make sure it doesn't end up in landfill.

We don't have a food waste collection in our area, and if our two chickens didn't eat up the leftovers that we really can't make use of, I'd be really tempted to try out something like a Bokashi. I'm not sponsored by the health food shop, or Libby Chan's or any other Bokashi producer. Just saying!

You can compost just about anything inside them, except bones. You add food waste in small pieces to the bucket. Bran is then added and the waste pushed down to eliminate air. It then ferments, and when it has finished fermenting can be added to your compost heap, or dug into the garden. 

Sounds good to me.

Anyone using a Bokashi out there? How do you find it?

Remember that National Zero Waste Week is fast approaching! This year the focus is Food Waste - with lots of great ideas to help you try and keep food out of the food waste caddy, the Bokashi or the compost heap! Are you going to take the Zero Waste pledge this year?

(Please note that I am taking a break from being online until Wednesday 21 August, so will not be responding to comments on blog posts published this week and next. Please chat amongst yourselves and I look forward to joining in the conversation after my break!)


  1. An interesting idea. It should be especially useful if you have a limited space like just a balcony.

  2. Tried it a few years back - useless and very expensive!

    1. I was considering buying one - what makes you say you hate them?

  3. White vinegar and bicarbonate of soda are cheap, effective and eco-friendly. I keep a recycled spray bottle of 50/50 vinegar/water - used with a microfibre cloth it's especially good for a streak-free finish on windows and mirrors.

  4. I've had a Bokashi system for a few years that I use sporadically because like you the chickens (or dogs in our house) can have most of our food waste. (The council also introduced food waste to the compost bin scheme shortly after I bought it).

    It works fine, but as sssh said, the bran works out very expensive. I avoid that by fermenting newspaper in live yogurt whey and molasses (not as mad or difficult as it sounds!) and using that instead. You do it in a big batch and then dry it; you don't have to do it weekly. I can post the instructions if anyone's interested.

    The liquid produced by the system is supposed to be a good plant tonic and a drain unblocker (it's the enzymes) and I also used it successfully in a homemade 'green cone'-type dog poo digester. I only gave up with the digester because 2 large dogs filled it up too quickly....

  5. I've been using my Bokashi system for about 8 months now and continue to be very pleased with it. Mine is a smaller bucket 300mm wide x 300mm high 13.6L capacity, ideal for one to two people. I live on my own in an upstairs flat, but there is a small area of dry & dusty bare soil on the common property block where a tree was taken out where I've been digging in the fermented waste approx. monthly without anyone objecting; it takes barely 5 minutes.

    I have two buckets - the one currently in use is kept in a cupboard under the draining-board in the kitchen; the full one 'sits' out of the way in the bathroom, until the current one is full, and the full one is then carried downstairs and dug in. I was away for 3 weeks in May leaving one just started bucket and one full one; neither caused any problem. There is absolutely no smell, but my food waste is close to 100% vegetarian, lots of citrus peels & tea leaves, and just a few crushed eggshells.

    I can buy the bran at my local organic food shop for about A$15 for 3 litres, which is enough for 6+ months. It feels so good to put out no rubbish for weeks on end, and then only a tiny bag of face tissues & matchsticks. Altogether guilt- and trouble-free.

    Australian readers might like to consider getting Australian-made buckets from