Composting is an easy way to do a lot of good for the world. But what if you don’t have the indoor space? Enter: Bokashi composting, a clever Japanese system especially good for small inside spaces. If you live in a flat and can’t (or don’t want to) be running up and down the stairs to the compost, this one’s for you.
The first thing you need to know is that Bokashi composting isn’t technically composting; it’s fermenting (yum!). A Bokashi bin is filled up with all your food waste, squished down and then sprinkled with the ‘bran’ inoculated with good microbes. When it’s full, put the lid on tight and leave it to ferment with a final layer of bran.
Above: Bokashi Bins are an economical solution for indoor composting.
The microbes get to work and in about two weeks you have pickled mush that can be added to the compost pile or buried in the garden. Every couple of days you’ll have to siphon off the liquid that collects at the bottom, but that’s the only maintenance needed. One of the reasons the Bokashi bin is so useful is that it has a spigot for this very purpose, making something which could be gross much more manageable.
Above: With Bokashi composting, food scraps actually "ferment" rather than rot. Photo credit: Mack Male
So, what are some advantages of Bokashi?
For starters, the bacteria in the Bokashi bran don’t produce the usual, naturally produced anaerobic acids, so there shouldn’t be any offensive smells floating around your home (aside from a faint whiff of fermentation).
If you get two bins, you can start a new one while the other is fermenting away in peace, so it can be a regular process. It really saves the need to be constantly running outside to the compost bin in your slipper to avoid food smells in your kitchen as you can pack a lot more into the bins. As we said before, this is particularly great if you’re up flights of stairs. It’s very specifically designed for people who live in small places.
Above: Having two Bokashi Bins allows you to fill one while the other is fermenting.
The resulting pickled waste can be buried in your compost or garden, and will break down much quicker than it otherwise would have. It’s quite acidic when it’s first done, so don’t add it straight to plants or they might feel a little sour (ahem).
You can put anything in your Bokashi composting bin, from vegetables to meat, fish and dairy products. You can even use the siphoned-off liquid diluted as a fertilizer or full-strength to clear slime out of drains and pipes. So quite literally zero waste here.
And then best news? They’re surprisingly good value – less than £30 for a twin set - so consider it a present to yourself, your garden and the environment.
Have you tried Bokashi composting? What was your experience? Share in the comments below and help others!
Bokashi composting - FAQ
What can you put in your Bokashi bin?
You can add any food scraps to your bin, from vegetables to meat, fish and dairy products.
What should you avoid putting in your bokashi bin?
Bokashi bins take all food scraps, but do not put excess liquids (such as water or juice) or mouldy food in your bokashi bin.
Can egg shells go in your bokashi bin?
Yes, unlike traditional compost, you can add egg shells.
Is bokashi better than traditional composting?
Both are great options, and it really comes down to your own home. Traditional composting is great if you have large outdoor space, and can add garden waste to your compost. Bokashi is perfect for kitchen scraps in smaller indoor spaces.