Yes! You can add bread to your compost pile because it’s an organic material. Bread decomposes easily like any other kitchen waste and is a rich nitrogen source for the microbes in your compost and the plants in your garden.
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Can You Compost Bread?
Putting bread in your compost is better than throwing it away, which ends in a landfill.
Instead of throwing away stale bread, you can add it to your compost since the mold acts as a catalyst to speed up the decomposition process.
Can You Throw Moldy Bread in Your Compost?
Yes, you can compost moldy bread.
Moldy bread is the best type to add to your compost because the mold shows that decomposition has already started.
Adding stale bread to your pile speeds up the decomposition process by introducing more active microbes to your heap than fresh bread.
Check our video below on how to compost bread for best results.
So What Type of Bread to Compost?
Composting bread and other bread products are as simple as composting any other kind of kitchen waste because bread is organic material.
Still, the kind of bread that’s good for composting often confuses people.
You’d never compost fresh bread because the sensible thing to do would be to eat it. Otherwise, why would you buy fresh bread in the first place?
Stale or moldy bread is the best kind to compost because they already have active microorganisms working on decomposing the loaf.
Avoid composting bread made using any dairy products because dairy can imbalance your compost pile mix or slow the process.
How long does it take for bread to decompose?
Bread in compost is an excellent addition to organic material in your heap because it breaks down like any other kitchen waste.
Composting bread takes about 2 to 4 weeks under the right conditions depending on the type and amount you’re using.
5 Good Reasons to Compost Bread
Here are a few reasons to convince you to add stale bread to your compost.
- Bread is organic matter and breaks down like any other kitchen waste without altering your compost mix.
- Composting equals sustainability. About 40% of US citizens waste food that ends in landfills, thus, increasing the carbon footprint by a significant percent. Composting stale bread instead of throwing it away gives you value for your money.
- Bread and other baked goods decompose faster than most kitchen waste, provided you meet the right conditions.
- Bread is an excellent nitrogen source for the microbes involved in the composting process.
- Moldy bread helps speed up the composting process because the fungi on it involve already active microorganisms that you can introduce to your compost.
Any Reason Not to Compost Bread?
There are a few issues with composting bread, such as the pests that stale or moldy bread attracts.
These critters are hard to deal with but can still benefit your compost in some way.
If you prefer to avoid the pests altogether, you can use a compost bin with the lid always on.
Another issue that comes with composting bread is maintaining a proper moisture balance.
Bread absorbs water well and can end up being too soggy for decomposition. Therefore, mixing it with brown material can help produce better compost.
How to Compost Bread in 10 Easy Steps
Take note of the following ten steps involved in composting bread:
Step 1. Choose Your Compost Style
If you have access to a backyard, you can opt for backyard composting using a compost tumbler or open pile.
A compost tumbler keeps your compost neat, prohibits pests and rodents from intruding, and is efficient at keeping the heat within the compost.
If you reside in an urban area and have no access to a large composting space, you can always consider getting an urban compost bin. These bins are specifically designed for indoor composting and produce the same results as the compost in your backyard.
The best urban compost bin options are covers and charcoal filters to help curb bad smells from rotting kitchen waste.
Step 2. Break It Down
To speed up the composting process, you must cut your bread scraps into smaller pieces before adding them to your compost bin.
Breaking down bread increases the surface area of your compost material, allowing microorganisms to access more organic matter and compost it faster.
Also, small pieces of organic material in your compost heap prevent pests from attacking your compost heap and interrupting the decomposition process.
If you decide to throw in your scraps without shredding them, pests like worms, snails, and millipedes will consume and break them down for you.
Still, decomposing bread using this method will take longer to get a finished compost pile.
Step 3. Place the Bread Scraps at the Center of Your Compost Pile
The center of any compost pile generates more heat than any other part of the heap, which helps speed up the composting process of your food scraps.
Most of the high temperature at the center results from the activity of microorganisms breaking down the bread in your compost bin.
As the microbes feed on the food waste you introduced to the bin; their metabolic activity produces heat, enabling your bread to rot faster.
Step 4. Add Kitchen Waste
Kitchen waste is organic matter and comprises both brown and green materials.
Adding kitchen waste to your bread compost creates a balance of high carbon and nitrogen materials essential for your compost.
The more diverse your kitchen scraps are, the better your compost will be.
Step 5. Cover the Bread With Brown Materials
To maintain the perfect balance of brown and green material, you must cover the bread with carbon-rich material like dry leaves, sawdust, or coffee grounds.
If your compost heap doesn’t have enough green compost, you can add nitrogen-rich organic matter like eggshells, grass clippings, peels, or veggie scraps.
People often confuse eggshells for brown material when they’re considered green material. However, the egg yolk has a high nitrogen content that feeds the microbes in your compost.
Step 6. Speed Up Decomposition
You can boost the composting process further by introducing finished compost, garden soil, or manure over the bread and vegetable scraps.
These organic materials already have active microbes that will break down the bread scraps faster along with the other kitchen scraps in your compost tumbler.
Step 7. Fill up the Compost
Use more compost to fill up the hole at the center of your compost pile to place the bread and kitchen scraps.
Leaving your compost material exposed attracts pests and rodents that can destroy the entire compost setup or interfere with the decomposition process.
Step 8. Control Moisture Levels
Too much moisture in your compost will slow the decomposition process or stop it entirely.
Also, excess water prevents sufficient oxygen supply within the compost pile killing the microbes involved in breaking down organic matter to compost.
You can add brown material such as sawdust to help absorb excess moisture and keep the levels balanced throughout the bin.
Still, if your compost bin is too dry, the microorganisms responsible for the process will be inefficient and die after extended periods.
You can re-wet your heap by watering it like you do your garden.
Step 9. Turn the Compost Pile
There’s a lot of debate on whether or not to turn your compost heap when decomposing bread and other kitchen waste.
Kitchen waste will decompose even if it isn’t turned. This is because the microbes will still break the organic matter into compost.
Yet, the compost will gradually break down, nutrients will leach, and your compost will start rotting or even get infected with fungus.
If you decide to turn your compost, you should do so after at least two weeks. This period allows the center of your pile to gain enough heat and speed up decomposition throughout the entire heap.
Step 10. Harvest Your Compost
Bred takes about a month to decompose under the right conditions fully.
Though, because you’ve mixed the bread with other organic matter, it can take about 6 months to finish compost.
Remove the compost from your bin once it’s ready after the expected period and apply it to your garden.
What Other Grain Products Can You Compost?
Besides bread, there are several other starchy grain foods you can safely add to your compost bin, including:
- Plain pasta (cooked pasta contains oils and other sauces that create an imbalanced compost)
- Cooked or uncooked rice
- Raw dough (the yeast is a fungus that speeds up the composting process)