Compost that doesn’t smell? The answer to every city dweller’s prayers – Bokashi Composting

A city friendly composting unit... and you don't even need worms! Say goodbye to smelly compost! - The Urban Ecolife

If composting was pretty, everyone would be doing it.

If composting was easy, everyone would be doing it.

If composting didn’t smell like a bunch of rotting scraps, everyone would be doing it.


So what if composting could be all these things. Would people actually do it?

I would hope so! Why? Because,

“Composting is one of the richest gifts that we can give back to Mother Earth.”


In the minds of most people though, composting is just one dirty affair.


For those of us who dream of rolling in layers of humus, it’s a dirty affair alright.


I. did. not. just. go. there.


Oh yes I did.


Back to the point.


By turning our food scraps into a pile of abundant, mineral-rich, micro nutrients, we are partaking in the circle of life. We are injecting a life-force back into our soils. May the force be within the compost.


As a city dweller, there’s a lot of obstacles to overcome in order to compost. That’s what puts so many people off it in the first place.

I wrote about my balcony worm farm a little while back in hope of inspiring some of you to take a leap of faith and embrace the challenge and FUN of setting up your own worm farm. For some people though, even that is out of the question because they may not even have a balcony. That, I can understand. Here are 3 other big roadblocks that I hear all too often.


Problemo Uno

Composting Stinks.


Problemo Dos

Not everyone has worms. That is, compost worms.


Problemo Tres

The standard decomposing process in composting takes time . We are busy city folk. We ain’t got a lotta time. We run on city time.


So is there an answer?

What if I were to tell you that there is a magic bean. The Jack and the Beanstalk kind of magic bean. One where you can produce stellar compost to nourish the earth in a fraction of the time and in such a way that it doesn’t stink! And you can even have it in your kitchen!


The answer my friends, is the Bokashi Composting System.


No insects, no smell, no worms.

Just a bunch of awesome little microorganisms fermenting your food scraps on your behalf.


What is the Bokashi Composting System?

Bokashi is a Japanese term that means, “fermented organic matter.” Pretty self-explanatory really. Essentially, it’s a little bin that you can stow away under your kitchen counter to pop your food scraps in. Rather than using worms to eat and decompose food scraps, the mixture of sawdust and bran, which is enriched with ‘Effective Microorganisms’ (EM), is sprinkled on top and used to ferment the scraps.


How Does it Work?

It’s an airtight system whereby the micro-organisms assist in the fermentation process. All you need to do is place your food scraps in the bucket and sprinkle a handful of the Bokashi mixture on top. Continue this layering process over the next few days. The compost level will, over time, reduce in quantity as the water is extracted through the holes on the bottom and turned into a nutrient rich ‘humus’. This is liquid gold in the gardening world! You can water this down and use to water your plants with. When the bucket reaches its full capacity, you have 2 options.


  1. If you have a second bucket, you can leave the first one to sit and ferment for a further 2 weeks and start the process again in your second bucket.
  2. If you don’t have a second bucket, you can simply pour it into the garden, whether that be a patch of garden you have access to through your apartment block, a friend’s house or a community garden. Even though the top layer may not have fermented completely, it will continue to do so in the garden.



  1. No suspicious insects or creepy-crawlies lurking around your compost.
  2. No smell so you can happily store it indoors, and even in your kitchen for easy access.
  3. No requirement to have worms.
  4. It speeds up the composting process as it ferments as opposed to decomposing.
  5. The compost can be used to rebuild the soil.
  6. The micro-organisms are abundant and this is all transferred to your garden outside.
  7. This provides nutrients for your plants.
  8. You can even use the Bokashi juice (like you would with worm castings) for adding extra nutrients for your plants. Watch them thrive!
  9. Reduces your dependence on Synthetic Fertilizers
  10. Apparently you can even flush some of the Bokashi juice down your drains and the good bacteria will help take over the bad bacteria that can build up in our waterways. Go you good little things!


Where to buy it from?

If you live in Australia, you can buy a Bokashi System online here. I have no affiliations with those guys but I thought you might find it handy to have an online reference of where you can buy them from. Otherwise, local gardening stores may also supply them. If you’re in the US, you can buy them online HERE.


So do you have a Bokashi System? How do you find it?

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Thank you for your support!

Posted on by Emily Uebergang Posted in EcoLiving, Home & Garden

About Emily Uebergang

Urban hippie by day, wandering gypsy by night. Emily is all about sustainable living and writes like she's out to try and save the world or something. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+

  • Susan Shangle

    I love my Bokashi system. I drenched my strawberry beds with “Liquid Gold” last year and this year the result are amazing. Lush, sweet and abundant.
    When I lived in an apartment I just sent my buckets to a neighbor to use in her garden.
    We are very fortunate- our council subsizes them so we are able to purchase at cost. I highly recommend having two sets.
    BTW – it will never look like the picture above. This is more like pickling.. then when you bury it in the ground or pour it on your main compost pile it goes into overdrive and with a few months becomes like the black gold pictured above.
    I highly recommend this system, really keeps your trash output low and makes great use of all those scraps. You can do meat and bones. Even processed foods. No oil or milk.
    Try it- you’ll love it.

  • / Emily Uebergang

    You have a pretty cool council by the sounds! We need more like that willing to offer up subsidies to help make these things more mainstream. Thanks so much for sharing your experience!!

  • Pingback: 6 Alternatives for City Composting When You Can't Compost At Home - The Urban Ecolife | The Urban Ecolife()

  • Dave

    What about eutrophication in areas where protected plants grow on mineral poor soils.. you can’t go throwing your green waste in a guerrilla dumping way thinking you do a good job replenishing the earth with nutrients where they might do damage to those plants and ecosystems, thats the opposite of what we should do.. think about that every ecosystem has its own cycle of nutrients sustaining itself and it does not need us to add some more.. some places need our help of course because we are depleting natural resources.. but for green waste its best to use it in your own garden or bring it to company that composts :)

  • / Emily Uebergang

    No I agree completely and I can’t imagine many doing this at all! I think there are many options for people to do away with their green scraps without needing to resort to ‘guerrilla composting’ and like you said, common sense and education about the local ecosystem goes a long way. Thanks for the comment and I LOVE hearing from people like you who obviously have such awareness. Hope you stick round :-)