Hong Kong's culinary tastes are getting up the nose of university researchers testing a new type of compost bin for household use. The Japanese-designed bins are designed to be odourless, but have been found to emit a pungent smell in a month-long trial at the Hong Kong Baptist University. The compost bins are now only available for sale in Japan, where they apparently do not emit any offensive odour. 'In Japan they say they can manage the smell, but in our trial so far we have found the bin does smell. Food in Hong Kong tends to be very oily and this is a problem,' said Jonathan Wong Woon-chung, an associate professor at the university's department of biology. The compost bin is capable of 'processing' about 700 grams of organic waste per day and can be filled continuously for up to six months before reaching its capacity. As new food scraps are added, the older food reduces in size as it decomposes. 'It works really well for things like cooked rice, noodles and vegetable scraps, but not so well for really oily foods' Dr Wong said. 'We are quite satisfied with the rate of decomposition - it's just the smell that is a problem.' An immediate solution would be to place the bin - which looks like a regular, medium-sized rubbish bin - in a well-ventilated area or on a balcony. 'Or maybe we will have to change our eating habits,' Dr Wong suggested jokingly. A more scientific alternative would be to use different kinds of bacteria to break down the food scraps. 'We are testing the bin with the same bacteria used in Japan, but maybe we need to look at different micro-organisms to break down the higher oil content in our food waste.' If further trials prove successful and the bins find a market in Hong Kong, they could make a significant contribution towards reducing the amount of organic waste going to landfills each year. 'We produce about 4,500 tonnes of food waste per day. Only 300 tonnes of this comes from restaurants so most of it is from households,' Dr Wong said. 'We could reduce food waste quite a lot and we could use the compost in our homes, as fertiliser for plants for example.' Instead of throwing scraps such as vegetable peel and leftover food in with regular household rubbish, the organic waste could be deposited into this 'organic waste disposal unit'. Dr Wong estimates the compost bins would initially cost less than $10,000.