Bokashi started in Japan around 1982 and came to New Zealand in 2000.  It is only recently that the process has really caught on commercially and joined other, more mainstream systems such are worm farming and composting.

Bokashi literally means ‘fermented organic matter’.  Technically it is an anaerobic fermenting process, not a compost.

The Pros and Cons of Bokashi
Pros Cons
  • Does not attract insects/fruit flys
  • Does not attract rodents
  • Low odor
  • No greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane
  • Very quick
  • Does not require large amounts of space
  • Some digging required
  • Cost involved in buying the starter
  • Fermenting smell

Unlike standard compost, with Bokashi you can compost meat, fish, cooked food, citrus, onions, even bones (although these will take longer to break down).  So it is perfect for getting rid of kitchen waste.

With Bokashi you CAN compost many items that can not be added to traditional compost:

  • Cheese
  • Chicken Bones
  • Citrus
  • Cooked Foods
  • Corn cobs
  • Egg Shells (crushed)
  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Meat
  • Sandwiches
  • Tea Bags and Coffee Grids
  • Wilted Flowers
How it Works
The Kit:

You can buy a ready to use kit:  Buckets, activator…  They are about $80 for a starter kit.


Homemade Bokashi kit. Two buckets (one with holes drilled in the bottom), Potato masher, Benchtop container, Activator. Total cost $31

Or make your own:  Basically it involves TWO buckets.  The top one has a lid and holes in the bottom, this fits snuggly into the bottom bucket.  Put the food in the TOP bucket, and any liquid will collect in the BOTTOM bucket.

You’ll also want an ice cream container or similar, and a potato masher.  You still have to buy the activator (From places like Mitre 10 or on-line from places like Bokashi.  Prices range from $12-$16 for a 1kg bag – but this should last about 3 months)


Compressed mix in the bucket, some white mould is visible – this is normal.

Stick your scraps in your 2 litre container,  once that is full transfer the scraps to your TOP bucket, use the potato masher to squish them down.  Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of activator over this.  Make sure the lid is tightly closed.

Here’s how mine looks at this stage.  It has some white, fluffy mould – which is perfectly normal (I still panicked a wee bit when I saw it). And the smell…  well it’s not stomach turning.  It’s like someone dumped a couple of kilograms of sugar into a litre of apple cider vinegar.

Every couple of days you’ll want to drain the liquid off…this stuff is magic! (see below).  For my first batch of liquid – and I was looking forward to this, I poured it down the bathroom drain trap.

Once the bucket is full it will need to be stored to 7-10 days in a warm, dark spot.

It should have a sweet pickled smell after 10 days.


After ten days fermenting the Bokashi mix is buried.

Bury it in the garden – Dig a 30cm deep trench and tip it in, cover it over.  And you’re done!

You can plant over it after ONE week.  Or, add the solids to your standard compost to supercharge them.

NOTE:  The food will not look broken down – this happens after it has been buried.  I did notice however (and this surprised me)  it was quite mushy – so obviously well on it’s way to composting goodness!



The Liquid

This is amazing stuff!

As a plant food (diluted).  As a drain cleaner – and not only is it septic safe safe – it’s beneficial!

Suggested dilutions for your Bokashi Liquid

1:100  liquid drench on your garden

1:200  as a spray on foliage

1:2  down your sink/shower drains as a cleaner


Some Do’s and Don’ts of Bokashi
  • Store your Bokashi in a warm area out of direct sunlight
  • Squash down your food to avoid air pockets (a potato masher works well for this)
  • Break up large pieces of food
  • Drain the liquid from your bottom bucket regularly (every 2 to 4 days depending on your household)
  • Add excessive dairy
  • Add excessive oil
  • Add liquids

Our downloadable PDF on Bokashi is available here Bokashi

And full instructions on how to use your Bokashi is here  How to Bokashi