Whether you are a neophyte or an avid composter, composting in your kitchen is an incredibly useful and environmentally beneficial practice.
Consider your trash can – it’s stuffed throughout the week with food scraps, cooked and leftover food, cardboard, paper towels, dust, coffee filters, tea bags, and other household expendables. What if you could cut down on a significant portion of your household trash, decrease the presence of fruit flies, and eliminate unpleasant odors?
With kitchen composting, all of this is possible.
What is composting?
Composting is the breaking down of food and other organic elements into a nutrient-rich mixture that can be used to enrich soil for gardening. The kitchen composter will find that the simple act of composting – separating compostable items from non-compostable items – is itself an efficient way to cut down on trash and alleviate odor, regardless of whether you have a garden to be benefited from the final product.
What can I put in my kitchen compost?
- All fruits and veggies (think scraps, fruit and vegetables that are expired and wasting away in your fridge, and leftovers).
- Flour products, like bagels, pasta, crackers, and old pizza crust.
- Cooked or uncooked grains
- Coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Coffee filters
- Do you juice? Any residual pulp or leftover juice can go right in the compost.
- Egg shells are the one exception to the no-dairy rule (see below), but make sure that you crush them up first.
- The contents of your dustpan.
- Cardboard (just make sure that it isn’t coated with wax)
What can’t you put in your kitchen compost? Meat, dairy, and any kind of cooking oil, and that’s about it. Meat and dairy products unfortunately attract maggots, will give off a terrible odor no matter where they are discarded, and alter the quality of the compost. Some composters warn to avoid putting walnuts and walnut shells in your bucket because they contain a toxin that throws off the nutrient balance of the compost. However, many don’t share this opinion so it’s up to you whether or not to save your walnut remnants for the regular trash.
Countertop kitchen composters that are sealed and that also allow oxygen to flow through the compost (usually through vents in the bottom of the container) are the most efficient method for composting in the kitchen because the clean-up is minimal, no odor is emitted into your space, and an attractive compost container looks smart on your countertop. A free flowing of oxygen increases the rate of anaerobic decomposition, which allows the contents of the bin to compost more quickly.
What do I do with the compost once the container is full?
If you, a neighbor, or a friend has a garden, mixing the compost that your kitchen has created into the soil will fortify it with important nutrients. The easiest way to do this is to keep a larger plastic bucket with a sealable lid outside your kitchen door and add your compost to it as needed. Then, with a garden trowel or shovel, dig small pockets of dirt in the soil and add scoops of the compost. (You don’t need to evenly mix your soil and compost – little, nutrient-rich spots throughout the garden will do the trick.)
If you don’t have a garden, check to see if your city has a compost-collection program, or if local nurseries or farms collect compost. Your compost contribution cuts down on unnecessary landfill waste, thus decreasing your ecological footprint, and helps in the growing of flowers, fruits, and veggies in your community. In the micro sense, it makes for a more pleasant kitchen environment and a happier home.
Start your kitchen compost today with a Compost Collector!