Simple Tips for Kitchen Composting
Last week we talked about steps that we can take in the kitchen to be more “environmentally friendly.” One of the topics we touched on briefly was composting food waste. I wanted to come back to that topic in a little more detail.
This is not a post on the science of composting. There are great resources available online addressing compost bins, how often to “turn” compost, etc. There are also good guidelines on finding the right combination of materials as you compost. It is important that you find the right balance of materials as you compost. Compost consisting of only kitchen scraps would not produce the healthy soil supplement you are seeking.
That being said, organic kitchen waste can be a key ingredient in healthy compost. And composting your kitchen waste instead of throwing it out is a great use of a resource we all have access to.
1. Choose a place in your where you want to begin composting. Often people will place their compost container near their garden so that it is easy to transfer the finished compost to where it will be used. Others choose a site convenient to their kitchen, or even a site out of general view, then use a wheelbarrow or other container to carry the compost to its site of use.
2. Choose a container and/or a method of composting. Some people use open bins that make the process of turning the compost easier. Some buy commercial compost “tumblers” that make the turning process almost foolproof. Others just use a container with a lid (we use two 30 gallon rubber trash cans with lids). Again, there are great resources online to help you with this decision.
3. Choose a “temporary container” that you will use to collect your kitchen scraps before you carry them out to your compost bin. Some people use an open container that they empty on a daily basis. Often they will keep this in a cabinet under the sink. Others use a container with a lid to cut down on potential smells or the problem of fruit flies, etc. There are some great compost containers available that are decorative enough to be kept on a counter. All have lids and many include a charcoal filter as well.
4. Start composting. No matter your choice of container, I would recommend that you empty your temporary container into your outdoor compost container on a regular basis. Daily or every other day would be ideal.
What can I CAN'T Compost?
I try to avoid:
Meat or dairy products
Any kind of grease or oil (including salad dressing)
Processed foods such as bread, candy, or pasta
Any cooked items
What CAN I compost?
Here is a wide range of things we use in the kitchen every day:
Fruit and vegetable waste (including rinds or skins)
Loose leaf tea
Egg shells (best if they are rinsed and crushed)
Clippings from healthy houseplants
I hope this has been a help to get you started in the world of composting your kitchen scraps. I'm excited that you have chosen to join me on this journey!
If you have further tips or ideas, I'd love to hear from you at: firstname.lastname@example.org.