Bokashi bin

How to set up and get the best from a bokashi bin.

How a bokashi bin works

Bokashi is a pre-composting method which ferments or ‘pickles’ your food scraps in an airtight bin, with the help of a powdered culture.

The system consists of two stacked buckets with a tight-fitting lid. The top bucket is where the food scraps go and has holes in the bottom for drainage into the bottom bucket.

To get started, watch this bokashi for beginners video:

Setting up a bokashi bin

The bins can be purchased or you can make your own by repurposing airtight containers.

You'll also need the powdered culture, which is a bran and sawdust product full of micro-organisms that help ferment your food scraps. It can be purchased online, from Sustainability Trust, or from a hardware store.

Ideally you need two bokashi systems. This is because once your bin is full, you close it up and wait two weeks for it to ferment. During this time you can begin using the second  system so you never have to put food waste in the rubbish.

Required space

These systems are the size of a standard bucket and perform best in a warm place away from direct sunlight. You can keep your bokashi outside under cover, like a carport or porch, or you can even try keeping it inside.

A bokashi system is a suitable option if you don’t have much outdoor space, however once the bucket is full, the fermented, ‘pre-compost’ needs to be buried or added to a compost bin to complete the process.

What you can put in

  • Chopped fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Cooked and raw meat scraps
  • Fish scraps (bones and shellfish)
    Leftover meals
  • Dairy products
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Nuts
  • Cereals
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea leaves
  • Plastic-free teabags
  • Eggs
  • Egg shells
  • Indoor cut flowers
  • Bread and baking products.

What you can’t put in

  • Large meat bones
  • Garden trimmings
  • Liquids (such as milk, juice and oil)
  • Mouldy food
  • Cardboard
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic items (even if labelled as ‘compostable’)
  • Rubbish
  • Poo from dogs and cats.

How to predator proof your system

Because the system is fully sealed and the pre-compost is buried in the ground, there is little chance of attracting rodents.

What you can do with the finished product

The fermented ‘pre-compost’ material needs to be buried in the ground or added to a compost bin to finish the composting process.

A liquid is also produced that can be diluted and used as plant food, or undiluted as a drain cleaner.

Guides

If you want to learn more about composting, download these guides:

How to set up and maintain a bokashi system (148KB PDF)

What can and can't go in your bokashi bin – reference guide (330KB JPG)

Contact us

If you have a question about composting you can email us at waste.education@wcc.govt.nz