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61

I include all organic materials in my compost, including meat, bones, dairy, grains, oils, and citrus - all of which are often listed as inappropriate for compost. Meat attracts pests such as dogs, mice, and flies. After adding new material to my compost pile, I put a thick layer of straw on top, and then a scrap of metal mesh fencing on top of that. This ...


25

Anything that has been living can be composted. Local compost manufacturers in Finland suggest strongly that meat can be composted. As I understand the problem with meat has something to do with attracting anaerobic processes and overheating the compostor slowing the process down. Make sure your compostor gets enough air and the contents are not too tightly ...


23

Starting a compost on your balcony seems to be feasible. You can buy or build your own box of suitable dimensions. Keeping it running is not difficult if it's shaded but not rained, you have to water it from time to time. And you just add the material and take (and use) the product. Regarding the smell, it depends mainly on the balance of the substances ...


21

The main/most convincing reason I have heard not to compost meat (as well as dog or cat manure) is due to the possibility that it may harbor pathogens harmful to humans or other animals. There are steps that can be taken to reduce this risk--mainly high-temperature composting. Although it can be difficult or impossible to achieve the necessary temperatures ...


21

I'd suggest vermicomposting. You can learn tons by searching the web and there are numerous products you can buy to help you along, but you can also DIY and keep it indoors with essentially no danger of foul odors. Some more information is linked at the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality with a 10 page document on small scale vermicompost.


19

Strictly in terms of energy efficiency, you're not gaining or saving energy by composting, but you're offsetting the energy needed to cut and process new trees by recycling the bags into new bags. So, from an energy perspective, recycling probably wins. For which one is 'better' (in the question title), we'd need to define better. It might also be good to ...


19

reduce, re-use, recycle, in that order. Get the uses you can out of the bags first. When that's done we get to the recycling bit. This includes basically three things you can do: Official recycling. This is probably the best thing to do with bags you have no other specific uses for. However in addition you can: papermaking (there are good how-tos on ...


18

A starter material isn't technically necessary, though a good amount of some sort of neutral, non-food based material (such as leaves, dirt, etc) will help to keep it from smelling like rotten food. Otherwise, the natural flora and fauna will breakdown the foods over time, as long as a reasonable nitrogen ratio is maintained.


18

Interestingly, it appears that teabag paper commonly includes "food-grade" polypropylene, which doesn't readily decompose. The link contains a quote from Tetley, amongst others: The material used to make the actual tea bag is a mixture of mainly cellulose fibres and a small amount of polypropylene fibres to give the heat seal. Under normal composting ...


17

Composting can start in a plastic bucket on your counter, and be moved out to an outside place if your producing enough of it. For my indoor composting, I use Bokashi to mitigate the smell and speed up the breakdown. All you'll have to do here is throw a handfull or 2 on top of your compostables, very simple. If you need to expand outside, make sure to keep ...


17

Moulds help break down organic matter. They are part of a good compost heap and there is no reason why food with moulds cannot be placed on your heap. However, your heap can become too mouldy but that is usually the result of the heap being too wet and/or containing to much nitrogen. It is true that moulds can be toxic, so you should not let your pets eat ...


16

Well, composting would give you a way to use waste products and have them turned into something useful. A sustainable system is closed in the sense that you need to buy as few resources as possible and produce as little waste as possible. Your system just keeps turning, like a perpetual motion machine, with you feeding off the system. Composting your waste ...


16

Ants in your compost heap are not a problem. The ants can be a benefit by helping cut heap material in tiny pieces, making tunnels and spreading fungi. However, if your heap is their home (did you find ant eggs in your heap?) that usually means that the heap is not functioning properly. It may not be wet enough or not heat up properly. If you want the ants ...


16

Apples, like practically all other organic waste, are ideal for composting. You can cover the apples with leaves, sawdust, other soil, etc., to prevent them being eaten by birds & insects and carried away from your compost pile. But in principle you need nothing but a little patience and soon your apples, whether windfallen, stormfallen or hand-picked, ...


15

All compost piles leach. This is ok. It's not a problem by itself. The question is what happens when you overload what the soil below can handle. Keep in mind that plants and even bacteria on the surface of the soil, cycle and transform nutrients. You can "detect" this by simple observation of nearby plants. Moderate (ok) levels of leachate may cause ...


15

Compost heaps tend to have a lot of bugs. Most of them are good, they help in the decomposition process. However, when there are too many of one specific type you might want to take measures. The appropriate measures depend on the type of bug that is dominant. Most often the heap is too wet (damp is good, soggy is not), too compact and/or has not enough ...


14

You can compost meat, but the problem is that it will start to smell and attract flies and maggots (as well as neighbourhoods cats and dogs possibly). It also slows down the composting process. You can use a bokashi bin to preprocess all left-overs including meat, fish and dairy. It doesn't smell and after about 2 weeks the bin contents can be mixed with ...


14

Lidded bins tend to have this problem because they run hotter than traditional heaps and seem to be covered because of the lid. Do not underestimate the value of adding newspaper and card to the bin on a regular basis - every time you add anything else in fact. Often times the layers of dry should be as frequent and slightly thicker than the layers of moist (...


13

It depends a lot on your climate and what you're putting in your compost. Compost likes to be warm, so sun helps. Compost likes to be moist - like a wrung-out sponge. If the sun would cause it to over-dry in the summer, or the shade would allow it to become over-wet in the winter, then you'll need to adjust accordingly. You can add water to a compost pile,...


13

You have created an anaerobic compost, that is, without air. There are two basic kinds of composting microbes: the ones that need oxygen and the ones that don't. Aerobic composting is what you were going for, with plenty of air for the oxygen loving microbes, and the right blend of carbon to nitrogen in the pile. This generally decomposes without smelling ...


12

I have heard that disposables use less energy than reusables if you also use hot water and they dryer. But it seems that many experts disagree. Most of the energy that goes into reusable diapers is in heating the water and the dryer. So, the colder the water you're using and less often you dry them the better off you are. Using rain water and/or solar ...


12

No. First, if you throw things in the river, especially waste, you'll likely be cited for dumping and/or littering. Second, there are definite environmental concerns to doing so. Dog waste is quite unhealthy; there are definitely bad bacteria and potentially bad parasites in there. Dogs don't poop in rivers naturally; do not put it in there. Also, ...


11

If your main goal is keeping your compostable waste out of landfill (as opposed to producing compost for your own use), consider using a pickup service like New York Compost. Edit: It looks like New York Compost is not around anymore, but the city is piloting an ambitious compost pickup program: NYC Compost Project Food Scraps + Yard Waste (2 min video) ...


10

Some concerns I would have about putting meat in the composter: Attracting rodents, dogs, and cats Things like bones aren't going to compost well (whether very heavily boiled chicken bones might compost is another matter entirely) Meat is going to be very high in nitrogen and consequently may pose problems unless you mix in low-nitrogen/high-carbon mixtures ...


10

It's more important to worry about a good balance of materials ("greens" and "browns" so that you have about a 30:1 C:N ratio) than it is to worry about a starter colony. In terms of what to use: you can use existing compost, well-rotted animal manures, or healthy soil from your garden. All of these things will have the microbe families that you want in ...


10

A starter isn't a requirement, but it can certainly help. A shovel from a long-standing site of decomposition will work. Manure works really well in a compost pile that includes food scraps, as it provides thermophillic bacteria that like the stuff we eat. Include plenty of fine carbonaceous material such as sawdust, to maintain the carbon-nitrogen balance....


10

Paper products should always be recycled first before composting (assuming they are clean and dry). This gives them another 'go' round the system. Once composted it takes a lot more time and resources to turn them back into paper.


10

Things you could do with organic waste, other than composting: For food and garden weeds/waste, most of this makes decent chicken food. If I dump a wheelbarrow of weeds from the garden into the chicken run, the girls go nuts -- similarly with a bucket of kitchen waste. They'll skip the stuff they don't like (e.g. banana peels), and you can rake this up when ...


10

The biggest downside is that it is still a consumable; a nontrivial amount of energy needs to go into growing and harvesting the corn, shipping it to the manufacturer, producing the cup, shipping the end product to a retailer, and then getting it to the consumer. With respect to composting, I don't know specifically about this brand, but I have heard that ...


10

Cooked food may attract animals, but I find a few ways of composting them. If you have a composter or a vermipost bin, those will work too. Below is my own method though. I tend to aggressively sheet mulch. While I am here in Indonesia I am known to prune the mango trees to get leaves to sheet mulch. These allow me to compost a fair bit of stuff in ...


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