Q & A – my bokashi-treated food waste hasn’t turned into compost in the bucket. What has gone wrong?

This is a common question we get with new users to the bokashi system. You add food waste to your bucket and sprinkle bokashi over every layer. When the bucket is full, you keep it out of direct sunlight to complete the fermentation process and then… nothing happens. The food waste looks exactly the same.


Bokashi is a little like making pickles. The gherkin doesn’t ever change its physical appearance when it is pickled. It does, however, never go rotten or decompose while it is in its vinegary liquid. The bokashi system is exactly the same. Imagine how bad food waste would smell after 3 weeks in a bucket if it wasn’t treated with bokashi. Bokashi ferments the food waste just as the vinegar ferments the gherkin. This fermentation process speeds up the composting process when the food waste is added to garden waste. This is when it becomes compost.

What is compost?

Composting is a process whereby carbon and nitrogen elements are combined to form humus. Food waste and green grass cuttings from the lawnmower are considered to be the nitrogen element. Fallen leaves, twigs and branches or the brown parts of garden waste are considered to be the carbon element. It is important to have both to make healthy compost.

So why should I even use bokashi?

Bokashi allows us to compost cooked food, meat products and dairy. These three categories of food waste have always been recommended to keep out of a compost heap. Bokashi has revolutionised the composting system. It also speeds up composting. Traditional compost takes between 7 and 10 months to be ready to use. Bokashi reduces this time to 7 to 10 weeks.

Let us know if you have any other questions.