Guide to Bokashi

Bokashi system for treating food waste and composting

Instructions for use

  • The Bokashi method of composting is suitable for apartment dwellers, people with limited outdoor space, offices, schools, restaurants and anyone who wants to reuse their food scraps.
  • The bins can be stored indoors, in a kitchen pantry, with no odour or mess.
  • Bokashi is a generic Japanese term for fermented organic matter (Food has been fermented in clay pots for centuries in Japan where special recipes for this process handed down within families). 
  • Bokashi compost can be made from everyday kitchen waste that is cut up into small pieces and sprinkled with a special mix of effective microorgnisms (EM) in bran flakes. 
    The EM pickle the food waste and increase the nutritional value via fermentation.
  • Fermentation occurs in an anaerobic (without air) environment in a sealed container.
  • Once the food waste has been pickled sufficiently, it can be dug into the garden and it helps greatly increase soil fertility and range of healthy microorgnisms which assist in healthy plant growth, as well as helping to suppress any disease creating microorgnisms.

Getting started

  • Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the Bokashi EM inoculated bran on the bottom of the top container.
  • Add 2 litres of food scraps (keep a 2 litre ice-cream container on the bench and empty it when full into the bin).
  • Add another tbsp of EM bran and press firmly to exclude air and compress (the top of the ice-cream container is great for this as it has rounded corners that fit the Bokashi container).
  • Ensure the airtight lid is replaced.
  • The system is working well if there is sweet pickle smell and the food isn't breaking down (decomposing).
  • Start a second bin while the first full one is set aside for 10 days -2 weeks to process before emptying.
  • Only use food waste that is reasonably dry - don't use any liquids.
  • The bacteria extracts liquids from the food and this drains into the lower chamber through the holes.
  • This liquid is highly nutritive for plants - dilute it 1:100 with water and use on the garden or pot plants (2 tbsp juice to five litres of water).
  • For foliage dilute to between 1: 500 - 1: 1000 (1 - 2 tsp to five litres of water) and spray over foliage to form a film over the leaves.
  • Tip it neat down the sink/toilet/shower to help digest any inside pipe scum and enhance the septic tank efficiency.

Download the instructions to our twin bin Bokashi system here.

Important points to remember

  • Use only fresh food waste, don't allow it to decompose first.
  • No liquids.
  • Remove juice from lower container every 2-3 days and use ASAP for maximum strength.
  • When full, set aside for approx 10 days -2 weeks and then dig into the garden, mix with some soil and cover.
  • You can plant over the waste in about 1 week, or it can be added to a compost heap to stimulate activity.
  • Nutritional value of the food waste is retained as there is no heating in the bins and no methane is produced (No smell or excess carbon produced).


  • An average household produces 500-700kg of food waste each year.
  • Bokashi systems can help use this valuable waste to improve soil health and nutrition as well as reducing landfill volume.
  • Costs around 70-90 cents per week to run.
  • On average it takes a 15 litre bin to fill in 7-10 days, a bag of the EM lasts about 8-10 weeks.