Review: All Seasons Indoor Composter, Easy Start Countertop Kitchen Compost Bin

An indoor composter that can handle any food scraps.

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All Seasons Indoor Composter - Bokashi Compost Bin

The All Seasons Indoor Composter for bokashi composting. Photo Credit: Margaret Badore for Treehugger.

If you’re looking for a way to speed up your compost pile, or wish you could compost meat and dairy without fear of pests, Bokashi composting may be the right approach for you. It’s a technique that involves fermenting food scraps in a sealed container before adding them to soil or your compost pile, speeding up the process of getting finished compost. 

I started using Bokashi composting in a tiny apartment years ago, and had success using a simple upcycled bucket with a tight lid (it came from a restaurant that would have thrown it out). When I moved to an apartment with a small backyard, I wanted to upgrade my system with a bucket that would allow me to capture the compost tea. 

I chose SCD Probiotics’ black All Seasons Indoor Composter, which can be purchased with a kit that includes the Bokashi bran flakes (view on Amazon). After using it for over two years, here’s my assessment.

Design

The 5-gallon bucket is made from heavy duty plastic, which is BPA-free and made from 75% recycled soda bottles. It has a handle, a tightly-fitting lid, and a perforated tray that sits in the bottom of the bucket and allows the compost tea to strain out and collect in a compartment at the base of the bucket. The spout has an easy-to-use spigot that lets you drain the tea, which you should do frequently for best performance.

Bokashi Bucket with tray removed
All Seasons Indoor Composter with tray removed. Photo Credit: Margaret Badore for Treehugger.


Getting Started

The bucket arrived all set up and ready to go. You add a layer of food scraps and any dirty paper napkins or brown cardboard (I’ve put a lot of greasy pizza box shreds into my Bokashi buckets over the years) and then generously sprinkle your bran flakes on top. I recommend sealing this layer in with something like a sturdy plastic shopping bag, pressing out any air pockets with your hands. Then pop the lid on. 

Compost bucket with food scraps and bokashi flakes.

Compost bucket with food scraps and bokashi flakes. Photo Credit: Margaret Badore for Treehugger.

Every couple of days, drain the compost tea. The tea can be diluted and used as a fertilizer, or poured onto an outdoor compost pile. If your home is connected to a municipal wastewater treatment system, pouring the bokashi tea down the drain can help keep the pipes clear. But be careful to not dump the tea anywhere that might contaminate freshwater, like a street drain that connects to a river or lake. 

The next time you have a collection of kitchen scraps that’s big enough to cover a layer of the bucket, open the lid and peel back the plastic, and then repeat the process of layering flakes and scraps. It’s better to expose the contents of the bucket to as little air as possible. When it’s full, you’ll keep the bucket tightly sealed for at least 30 days, to allow the anaerobic fermentation process to fully happen.

The beauty of a bokashi bucket is that you can compost items that would cause issues in other compost systems, like meat scraps, expired sauces, cooked foods, and dairy. I don’t recommend putting a lot of yard waste in your bucket, because you’ll end up filling it pretty quickly, but it will break down.

Performance

I found this bucket very easy to use. The drain works well, and the bucket can hold a lot of food scraps. In my two-person household, it usually takes about six months to fill the bucket. I did sometimes neglect to drain the tea as regularly as the manufacturer recommends, but all that happened is that the liquid got a little more stinky. 

As the fermentation happens, the contents can take on a strong vinagar-y smell, so you’ll want to minimize how often you open it (that also helps the fermentation). Some brightly-colored mold and nice white mycelium also showed up in my bucket from time to time, but I try to embrace them as part of the decomposition process. 

Once the bucket is full, I leave it in my shed to finish fermenting, and I often give it extra time to ferment, more like 45 to 60 days. While my bucket is sealed, I take my kitchen scraps to a local compost drop-off site. 

When it’s time to bury my fermented bokashi scraps, I bury some in my flower and vegetable beds ahead of planting. The rest goes in my cold compost pile, which is otherwise full of yard trimmings. The vinegar smell doesn’t linger after scraps are buried and it washes out of the empty bucket after a few rinses with a garden hose. The tray should also be removed for cleaning. In the pile, the scraps complete their transformation into finished compost really fast – in less than 30 days from my observations, with the exception of the occasional avocado or mango pit.  

The only issue I’ve had with this composter was totally due to user error: I accidentally buried the perforated tray in my outdoor compost pile and proceeded to restart the bucket. I didn’t notice that the tray had fallen out when dumping the last remnants out of the bucket.

Without the tray, the compost tea didn’t drain as well (but it still drained!). I discovered the tray about three months later when turning my compost pile, and it was totally unscathed. I’m still kind of embarrassed by the whole thing. 

Value

For about $50, this bucket comes with your first bag of bokashi bran and a handy how-to guide. The bran alone is a $15 dollar value, and the compost tea is also very useful around the garden. It’s not the cheapest set up, because you could upcycle a bucket and make your own bokashi-inoculated bran. But overall, I think this durable bucket has been a good value.

Final Verdict

I think the All Seasons Indoor Composter and the bran from SCD Probiotics are both great. It was easy to start, it’s durable, and it’s easy to clean. It holds many months’ of kitchen scraps, which means you can compost all winter without needing to go outside. It’s a good product for anyone looking to step up their compost game.

SCD Probiotics All Seasons Indoor Composter

All Seasons Composter