Troubleshooting Bokashi

Posted by Eric Lancaster on

From time to time a batch of food waste will get pretty stinky, even when you're using EM1 Bokashi. Luckily, there are only a few reasons why this will happen and it is pretty easy to fix.
  • Issue: The bucket is starting to smell bad.
  • Cause: Too much liquid was added to the mix and the waste has putrefied instead of fermented.
  • Solution: If you add liquid to the bucket, be sure to drain it in a few hours or by the next day. If it starts to get an "off" smell, add more bokashi to soak up some of the extra liquid. If that doesn' do the trick, you can add a handful of table sugar and stir in. In about 24 hours, it should be back to smelling good.
  • Bokashi Fermenter
    Issue: From time to time we do hear people say that the lid is difficult to get off the bucket. This is especially a problem when not using the bokashi buckets we sell which have a soft plastic lid that comes off easily.
  • Cause: The lid wasn't kept on tight.
  • Solution: There are a couple ways to fix this: 1) You can line the bucket with a plastic bag and fold down the top of the bag to make it airtight. 2) If you're using a round bucket, go to a paint store. They sell these lids for 3 and 5-gallon buckets for protecting paint. They are made of a thin plastic that fit tightly around the bucket and only cost a couple dollars. 3) While filling the bucket, you can put smooth the surface of the food waste (after adding the EM1 Bokashi) and cover it with some newspaper and then put on the lid.
  • Issue: The bucket is starting to smell bad and a green or black mold is growing in it.
  • Cause: Too much liquid was added to the mix and the waste has putrefied instead of fermented or the lid wasn't kept on tightly.
  • Solution: Be sure to keep the lid on tight. Be sure to drain the liquid daily. Add a handful of sugar and wait 24 hours and check that the odor has gone.
  • Issue: There is no liquid coming out of the bucket.
  • Cause: There is little liquid being added to the bucket.
  • Solution: If the bucket smells good, there is no need for alarm. Either you are using lots of Bokashi or dry materials. Typically people on high starch and high protein diets have food waste that has little liquids in them and produce very little liquid in the buckets. People who have a diet high in fruits and vegetables are adding food waste with lots of liquids and will get much more "juice" out of the bucket.
What issues do you have with you bokashi system? What solutions have you come up with? Please share.

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