Compost Snacks

Compost Snacks

Friends often ask me what foods are safe to put into the compost heap.

 The list of foods that you can compost is enormous.

 You don’t have to do anything special with the waste, but a few tweaks will make things easier for you and the decomposition process.

My household produces, on average monthly, roughly 25 litres of food waste. I have a kitchen caddy that holds 5 litres of debris. 

Previously, my waste from the kitchens would be distributed to three locations – worm farms, bokashi bins and direct to the compost pile. Today, however, all my kitchen wastes are placed directly into my bokashi containers. Each one has a 32-litre capacity. I have seven, and due to collecting two other households’ weekly kitchen waste, l fill each 32L weekly. I shall write another post regarding the Bokashi bin at a later date.

A few years ago, l produced more food waste for the compost bin than now — nearly 50 litres of food per month. However, life changes, and so do personal diets, and back then, l was eating more meat, whilst now l am mostly a vegetarian, so my waste is cleaner, keener and slimmer. Therefore the diversity of the food types that now are considered waste is much smaller.

I used to shred the kitchen waste for the compost heap, but I no longer do that and don’t need to for the bokashi’s fermentation process, which breaks it down in other ways. The smaller items are, the easier it is for them to break down and decompose more efficiently. However, as l am a hot composter for the better part of each year, that process breaks down food very quickly.

It’s not a bad idea for composters to break their food items into smaller pieces and not go to the extremes of blending food wastes which l now only perform when preparing food for the wormeries. Still, smaller items break down more effectively even if not maintaining a hot compost heap.

Bite-size waste pieces make for easier consumption by micro and macro residents in a heap. I emptied the contents into the pile, pitchforked it a few times, and then covered it up until the next time.

Some food types benefit from being broken down before being added to the compost and shredded, blended, or chopped because their natural decomposition process is much longer than other food types.

A head of lettuce, for example, can take 25 years to decompose in a landfill. Most vegetables can take 5 – 7 days to break, while paper can take anywhere between 20 to 40 days. I have noticed certain vegetables left in their unbroken state and added to the heap take longer to separate.

None of my food waste today is placed into rubbish to be disposed of in a landfill. Everything is placed directly into the Bokashi bins or worm farms.

Like the lettuce head can take time, so too can the shells of nuts, the avocado pit stone [the latter l tend to break with a hammer as they can seed and sprout in a heap if left whole], the avocado skins, banana peels do break down, but they can take a month alone.

Orange peelings can take six months. Brussels sprouts need some encouragement, as do most brassicas. Even broccoli stalks can be slow to crumble. A mere apple core can take some time, especially if the compost pile is turned over only occasionally.

The facts are straight forwards breaking down your kitchen wastes first with whichever method you adopt awards an overall delicate balance to your heap, compost pile, and end-product quality humus for your soils and vegetable/flowering gardening.

All this aside – to the main question – what foods are safe to put into the heap?

The ingredient list for composting is extensive, and l will create a more comprehensive list regarding actual foods and kitchen waste in another post.

Crushed EggshellFruitVegetablesCoffee Grounds/Loose Tea/Coffee Filters
Tea Bags

[If unsure of the composition of the bag, tear open and use contents only]
Vegetable PeelingsFruit SkinsStale/Old Crackers/Crumbs
Bread/Toast/CrumbsOld/Stale Breakfast cerealsCooked foods – vegetables, rice, pastaStale/Soiled/Old/Freezer Burned foods
Old Spices/Dried HerbsPopcornKitchen TowelsHome Brewing Wastes
[Will discuss meats/fish later]

There is quite a lot there already, and the overall list for composting is enormous when you start to consider everything from not just the kitchen, but other areas of your house, your life and of course, your garden too. But l will discuss this in time.

“Composting is as much fun as gardening if NOT more!”

The beauty of composting and natural waste management is the result. The end product awards the composter a great sense of achievement and the reward it offers your gardening experience – be this vegetable, flowering, herb or fruit growing. Compost enriches your soil with a bounty of nutrients that encourages your garden to bloom and produce.

Soil Science Directory

I hope you have enjoyed this article, thanks for reading and I’ll see you next time. Till then, have yourselves a terrific day!

The Autistic Composter

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Published by The Autistic Composter

Earthly Comforts is a wildlife journaling scrapbook focusing on the countryside, wildlife biodiversity and environmental conservation, flora and fauna volunteering projects, gardening, composting and vermiculture, inspiration, poetry and photography.

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