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This product which has recently launched in India claiming to provide a stench free alternative to home composting with little hassle. I had a discussion with its founder and he says its similar to bokashi composting, the difference being the microbe powder the product provides. I wanted to know about the microbes used, its availability and does it really work to create a good compost without any stench emanating in the process as it claims?

Moreover is it really a feasible composting method for someone who has a family of two and would not generate enough organic waste? And can it be done DIY without subscribing to this commercial product?

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I have no experience with this Indian Smartbin system myself, but it looks like it is a Bokashi system. I suspect that the only difference with other commercial systems is that they sell their own mix of Effective Microorganisms (EM). This mix is probably slightly different from the already existing and trademarked mixes, but the principle of how to use it is still the same.

From what I've gathered on the website the Smartbins are airtight (this is necessary when composting with EM). This means that if the bin is closed, there is no chance of any odors coming out. However there probably is a soury smell if the bin is opened, for example when you add more food scraps or when you add the compost at the end of stage one. Usually the smell is nothing too bad, but if you dislike it you may want to open it outside.

I see no reason why the Smartbin cannot be used by a family of two, or by a single person for that matter. You just gather all your food scraps until the bin is full (or half full is you leave space for adding compost later). If you don't generate much food waste just make sure you use a small bin.

If you want to DIY, you'll have to buy your own airtight bins. There are many tutorials on the internet, for example this one is very easy to DIY or you can create one with a tap to drain fluids more easily. Besides a bin, you need to create an EM starter culture. Again there are many tutorials on the internet, here is an example. Note that creating a EM culture will take about 3 weeks and you'll have to create new EM every now and then when you run out of it.

  • wow that was what I was looking for !, is the tap really required? and have you personally used such bokashi bins? – sustainablecoolingsolutions Dec 2 '13 at 15:46
  • also if I use a small bin for experimentation purpose like those small paint cans than how long should I wait for the fermentation process? – sustainablecoolingsolutions Dec 2 '13 at 15:58
  • @Alicompost My personal experience with Bokashi is limited (I am more into vermicomposting myself) but I know other people who are doing this succesfully for quite some time now. A tap is not necessary, but draining liquid is so drill some holes and add a water container at the bottom and make sure it is airtight. The fermentation process always takes about 2 to 3 weeks (stage1) and then another 2-4 weeks with compost (stage2) to fully decompose. This is the same for small batches. In larger batches you just add more EM. – THelper Dec 4 '13 at 7:45

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