I get a lot of questions about composting on the blog – probably because it’s such a foreign concept to many of us. Below are some of the questions I get asked the most. Feel free to add yours in the comments!
Can I compost meat scraps and bones?
This is a controversial subject. One side advocates for the fact that any organic material (living beings included) will compost. However, the other side suggests avoiding composting meat scraps and bones due to the smell and potential for attracting unwanted critters.
There’s a reason why it’s easier to be a vegetarian/vegan zero waster than it is to be an omnivore one. There just isn’t a simple solution for disposal!
Here’s how you can decide for yourself:
- Are you using curbside city compost? If so, check their guidelines to see if it’s even allowed.
- Are you composting in an open backyard pile? If so, you may actually have critters to worry about.
- Can you bury your compost in a backyard trench? If yes, you may be able to bury deep enough to avoid the issue of pests altogether.
- Can you freeze for a while, then send the scraps to a friend who does have a trench?
- If you’re using a closed container (away from pests) can you tolerate the added time it takes to compost these products?
Can I compost paper towels?
Totally! These fall under the “browns” category and can be a welcome addition if you’re in need of some dry material. I would just recommend shredding them up a bit before adding. You can do the same with office paper, newspaper, and brown paper.
If you plan to add your compost to your garden, don’t add paper towels or napkins that have been bleached. They are full of chlorine, which isn’t something you want in your grown produce.
How can I avoid mold and fruit flies?
Mold naturally occurs during the composting process and fruit flies are just a pest. To prevent both, keep your food scraps in the refrigerator or freezer until you empty it into your collection container. We empty ours every 2-3 days.
What materials can be composted?
Compost is made up of a combination of two primary ingredients, plus moisture content:
- Browns (carbon-based materials like dead leaves, branches, twigs, brown paper, newspaper)
- Greens (nitrogen-based materials like grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, coffee grounds)
What are the benefits of composting?
Composting your own excess material at home means your food scraps never go to waste, but contribute to the enrichment of the soil instead. It also:
- Enriches soil and helps retain moisture in the earth.
- Suppresses plant diseases and keeps pests at bay.
- Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Encourages the production of beneficial bacterias that break down organic matter.
- Creates humus (not hummus), a nutrient-rich material that encourages growth.
- And it reduces methane emissions in landfills.
Read More: How to Compost the Easy Way
Read More: How to Start a Paperless Kitchen
Do you have a question about composting? Drop me a line!
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