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Questions tagged [composting]

the process of creating compost: organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. For composting with worms see [vermicomposting], for anaerobic composting with microorganisms see [bokashi]

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Why shouldn't meat be placed in my compost pile?

I've heard claims that it is a bad idea to place meat in your compost pile. What is the reason for this? I'd like to be able to compost all my table scraps to reduce my waste stream, however, if ...
46
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6answers
1k views

Is it feasible to compost in an apartment in a city like New York?

I would like to start composting but live in New York City and have no yard area. Is it feasible to try composting on my very small outdoor porch balcony area (6 feet x 3 feet)? The porch is shaded ...
37
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5answers
18k views

Is it better to recycle or compost brown paper bags?

When you go to the grocery store, you may get brown paper bags. These can be readily recycled, however, they could also be composted. I would think that recycling requires energy, whereas composting ...
25
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2answers
5k views

Are mouldy kitchen scraps okay to compost?

I was reading about the dangers of introducing pathogens in a compost pile. As you know, some moulds can be toxic. So I am curious if the normal household mould that appears in the kitchen or the ...
21
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5answers
219 views

Does a compost pile for food scraps need some kind of starter material?

When starting a compost pile from scratch for kitchen food scraps, do I need some kind of starter material? For example, should I take any material from an established composting pile to seed it with ...
21
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4answers
18k views

Dealing with bugs in compost

My community compost pile is incredibly buggy. It's a ~30 gallon bucket, with a closed lid and ventilation holes. It has hundreds of flying bugs swarming in it. As soon as the lid is open they're ...
19
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2answers
253 views

Why should I compost?

I've seen a number of question about composting here. Five, if the composting tag is a good way to measure. In my sustainability efforts (no car, no meat, no flying) I've never really considered ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Composting teabags?

I have a problem during waste segregation with a small, but often used product, namely teabags. It's a bit of organic matter wrapped in paper, with a thread and staple. The organic part is easy - it ...
15
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3answers
738 views

How can I manage a ton-per-month worm composting?

I already have a composting bin in my kitchen, and I'd like to upscale it to my whole building, which has 32 apartments. This is about a hundred people. I've explained why and how to my neighbors and ...
15
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4answers
603 views

What to do with expired food?

When I last visited my grandmother I found a couple of expired cans of peaches. Given that they should have been consumed three years ago I don't think it's safe to eat them. I was thinking about ...
15
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2answers
574 views

Ants and Compost

My community compost pile is now home to a very active ant's nest. As soon as any food goes on the pile, the ants are swarming over it. Is it anything to worry about, or are the ants a healthy ...
15
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2answers
423 views

How can I detect leachate from a compost pile?

It's possible that a compost pile will leach in to the ground, possibly contaminating groundwater and nearby wells. If you're composting human or animal manure, the risk is greater, as is the concern ...
15
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1answer
409 views

How can I use my balcony compost during winter?

My balcony compost tends to freeze and stop working during winter time because I live in Quebec and we get an average of -13°C. Is there anything I can do to prolong my composting season?
14
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3answers
781 views

How to aerate compost without turning?

Are there any sound methods that will allow my compost heap to stay aerated without me having to turn it? I realize that if left alone, it will still compost, but I would still like to speed up the ...
14
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2answers
273 views

What are the downsides to so called greenware items?

Greenware is the brand name of a 100% corn based cups produced by Fabri-Kal. It is used to provide a plastic cup that can be composted. I'm wondering what externalities might exist for this product ...
14
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2answers
10k views

Is it normal to have maggots in my compost?

I noticed maggots in my compost scraps recently (not yet mixed in the tumbler). Is this all right? Should I do something to prevent this in the future? If so, what?
14
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1answer
249 views

Reusable vs. disposable diapers: which is better?

My wife and I have been using reusable diapers for our two kids. We've made them from old curtains, old bedsheets, etc., pretty much all "recycled" materials. They've been working perfectly fine, but ...
13
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3answers
903 views

Complete composting novice with a bucket of stinky black slime--toss or keep?

We decided to start composting without doing any research on how to do it. Thus we began filling an old painters bucket with food scraps. No meat or milk or anything, but veggie and fruit scraps , egg ...
13
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2answers
171 views

Heating water with compost

We've been experimenting this year with hot composting, and are now looking at how we can go about using the heat generated in the pile to heat water, either to use directly or to pump around as ...
13
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2answers
126 views

Dealing with seeds in a compost pile

We have moderately sized (under or around 0.5 m3) backyard composter. It is of simple cubic form with hatches at the bottom where the ready stuff is being taken out. Mostly food scraps go in there, ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Compost in the sun or shade?

Is it better to have my compost pile in the sun, or in the shade? I have space on the north and south walls of my house, and want to know which would be a wiser place for the pile.
12
votes
1answer
379 views

How effective are rotary composters

We now have a large house (a guesthouse) with capacity for generating a lot of compostable waste. At our previous house we used a number of static compost bins, turning between them. In the new ...
12
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1answer
152 views

How to incorporate browns in apartment food scrap compost?

I want to start composting my food scraps, however I want to make sure I have a good mix of browns and greens to minimize odors. I live in an apartment, so I don't have any soil, leaves or other yard ...
12
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1answer
105 views

How can an employer induce snack food companies to package in compostable materials?

My employer provides snacks to employees and generally uses compostable plates, cups, and utensils. However, a significant portion of the waste stream comes from the wrappers for things like chips ...
11
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2answers
404 views

How difficult is it to build your own dry, self-composting toilet?

I live in the country and have space on the north-side of my house where it doesn't get too hot in the summer. I think this could be a good place to implant a water-less or dry toilet. I read here ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Cooked food composting

Recently I started composting at home. As many sources told me not to put cooked food and several other things. Mainly to not attract animals. I don't put them on on my compost pile, but put put it ...
11
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2answers
1k views

What alternative to composting is there to manage organic waste at home?

Organic waste (cooked food waste, uncooked food waste and garden waste) can usually be used productively in composting. However, in Kathmandu, where I am trying to find domestic solutions for organic ...
11
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1answer
207 views

How can I build an effective rotary composter?

I have a fenced in back yard and I am thinking about building a rotary composter. What is a good and proven design? (I would like it to be big enough for a 4 person house)
10
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5answers
20k views

Getting rid of immature windfallen apples

What are the (easiest) sustainable ways of getting rid of immature (windfallen) apples? Is it OK to put them into a compost? What part of compost can they make? Is it good to crush them before ...
10
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5answers
2k views

How to get rid of fruit fly infestation in worm composting bin?

My worm composting bin is infested with fruit flies. What can be done to get rid of the flies?
10
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2answers
170 views

Can solid dog waste be safely added to a backyard composting heap?

My dog poops in my backyard and the poop is either a) forgotten or b) picked up in a biodegradable bag and thrown in the trash which is ultimately incinerated for electricity by my municipality. Both ...
10
votes
1answer
944 views

What are the Carbon-Nitrogen ratios of common household wastes?

Making a good compost requires the right Carbon-Nitrogen ratio of the mixture. But most of the compostable household wastes don't have an ideal 25-30:1 ratio and we call them "greens" or "browns". And ...
10
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1answer
950 views

Which compostable plastic types can be composted at home?

There often is confusion about compostable plastics (see for example this question on greenware items or this gardening question on plastic bags). 'Compostable' suggests that you can compost the ...
9
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5answers
3k views

Is it a good idea to throw organic waste in a river?

I live in an apartment in an urban area that doesn't offer municipal compost. I store my food waste in a paper bag in my freezer. When the bag is full, I run it over to Whole Foods and dispose of ...
9
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4answers
209 views

How to construct a composting toilet

I want to built a composting toilet. What are the main construction aspects to be considered? Does anyone have a manual to share? I am especially interested in construction schemes which include the ...
9
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1answer
365 views

Composting used white shredded paper

I happen to have a lot of white used paper (with black ink on it, either from a printer or a pen), and also a very wet compost bin (I guess it's because my soil is heavy clay and the drainage is quite ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Can you vermicompost biodegradable plastics?

I'm looking for a way to recycle biodegradable plastics myself and I was thinking about putting them in my wormery. Does anyone have experience with vermicomposting biodegradable plastics? Is it safe ...
9
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1answer
236 views

In-place composting around flower pots and allelopathy

Because of limited space for gardening, we have a fairly large number of trees and plants in flower pots. In particular I have found that citrus trees seem to demand a lot of mulch around them and so ...
9
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2answers
3k views

How is compostable plastic recycled/composted industrially?

I know that you need industrial facilities to compost compostable plastics within a reasonable timeframe. But how does this process work exactly? How long does it take? Is it simply a matter of doing ...
8
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5answers
173 views

Indoor composting with limited space

I live in a small flat and my only place to grow things is in window boxes on my generously sized window ledges. I would like to be able do a small amount of composting with things like leaves from my ...
8
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2answers
152 views

Compost yourself or let the city handle the organic waste?

From a sustainability perspective. Is it better to let the city handle the organic waste or compost yourself locally when possible? I'd suspect city's larger scale organic waste management facilities ...
8
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2answers
169 views

What are the limits of planting directly into pre-compost material?

I was wondering what the limits were to planting into organic pre-compost material. As an experiment my father has grown a few things be simply planting them in a pile of used tea bags. This seems to ...
8
votes
1answer
260 views

What is the environmental impact of toilet paper processed at a water treatment plant?

After toilet paper is flushed down a toilet and it goes to a water treatment plant, what happens next? Does it decompose, if so what gasses are released? Is the carbon sequestered in any significant ...
8
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2answers
116 views

How to improve energy efficiency of composting toilet?

I've been looking at a commercial composting toilet for a mobile, off-grid application ("boondocking rv"). I've done a power budget and the toilet is coming out as the biggest user of energy. Power is ...
8
votes
1answer
151 views

What vegetable plants (if any) will produce enough organic matter to replenish the soil through compost?

I am looking for some good vegetables which will produce enough biomass that, once the main crop is harvested, the plants can be composted and returned to the soil, and will leave the soil better than ...
7
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3answers
623 views

Can I compost vegetable oil?

I have a quart (0.9 liter) of vegetable oil, and was wanting to get rid of it. I know you're not supposed to pour it down the drain, and was thinking that if I put it in the compost bin I would be ...
7
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2answers
152 views

How should I manage a worm bin that is inside a kitchen?

How should I manage my worm bin so I can keep it inside the house in my kitchen? How do I prevent odor? How do I prevent fruit fly infestations? Another question deals with how to get rid of an ...
7
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1answer
144 views

Is it absolutely necessary to agitate/rotate a compost bin?

I live in a small apartment with limited space (there is a small outdoor patio). I want to start using a compost bin, but all the models I've found are quite large and seem to include mechanisms for ...
7
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1answer
78 views

How to test whether a teabag has polyester fibres or not, without waiting for it to compost?

Some teabags are made (or partially made) of polyester fibres, and stay intact in compost after everything else has broken down. Is there a quick way to test whether a teabag contains polyester, as ...
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2answers
5k views

Is butcher's paper typically waxed, oiled, or plastic coated?

Butcher's paper was suggested to me as a sustainable material for storing food in the freezer. However, I found this site that suggests it is sometimes oiled or waxed. Perhaps it coated in plastic ...