Bokashi Composting for the Curtailed

Got a Landlord who won’t let you compost? Or no garden for your food waste?

At the weekend I heard stories about renters whose landlords or Property Agents won’t allow them to have a compost bin in their backyards. The result? Good food waste getting trucked to landfill. It’s a shame because landfills compress waste so that everything organic in them eventually breaks down under anaerobic conditions to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas, and leachate – a toxic liquid run off. What a different result when we compost at home, where precious organic waste turns into nutritious compost for the garden.

So what can the curtailed renter, or the householder without a garden do?

An easy solution for food waste is Bokashi. The Bokashi system is a two stage process that uses EM, a patented mix of ‘effective microorganisms’, that ferments the food in a tightly sealed double bucket system. Once fermented, the Preserve is dug into soil where it gets processed by the living soil – to become more living soil!

The EM comes, impregnated in a sawdust-bran mix called Zing that’s dried by a Christchurch company for us to buy in bags from the Dunedin City Council’s Customer Service area who sell them along with the double bucket system.

Once you’ve parted with your dollars for a couple of the bucket systems, it’s all pretty affordable and should cost you no more than a few dollars a week to cover the cost of the Zing. If you want, you can make your own double bucket system from repurposed buckets with a good seal. Look online for instructions such as Under the Chokotree.

Not got a garden? Then it’s time to pass the buck – or bucket – to your gardening friends or relatives. It should be an easy job to persuade them because the Preserve is full of goodies for the garden. There are around 80 beneficial microorganisms in the Zing now flourishing in the nutritious Preserve that will attract compost worms and soil bacteria. Expect it to break down in the soil in four to six weeks.

The bokashi system is also a game changer for aspiring zero wasters because it can take all manner of food scraps, including meat, cheese and cooked food that smell up your rubbish bin.

So don’t take accept a NO you CAN’T Compost from your landlord. YES you probably CAN! Got any more questions? Please email me at