Can You Compost Meat: Yes, But…

can you compost meat

You can compost meat scraps in the compost pile. Some sources tell you otherwise, but it all comes down to these factors: your level of expertise, the amount of space you have available, and the amount of time you can devote to working on the compost pile.

What Happens If You Compost Meat?

You should expect the following outcomes if you compost meat:

1. Foul odor

The smell of decaying flesh and decomposing cooked foods is something that no one enjoys.

When we add meat to our compost pile, the odorous quality of the meat will permeate the entire pile and make it smell foul. 

This can get some neighbors very upset, and it might also arouse your dog’s curiosity or attract unwanted vermin.

The last thing you want to deal with is a foul-smelling compost pile that animals have dug up.

2. Unwanted Visitors

When you add meat to the compost bin, there is a risk that it could attract vermin and other unwanted guests. In addition, the scent of rotting meat will encourage a variety of mammalian pests, including raccoons, rats, and other critters, to start foraging in your compost pile. 

Even if you don’t have problems with rats in your compost pile, they could be a considerable health risk because compost is a favored spot for rats to nest.

When wild animals learn to link compost heaps with food, it harms your pet’s health and can put them in danger.

3. Composting Process

Like most dairy products, meat contains a lot of fat and protein, all of which take longer to break down than the more basic carbohydrate structures found in yard waste and plants.

Therefore, if you add meat to your compost, it will take substantially longer to decompose correctly, and you will need to pay much more attention to the pile itself and its output.

4. Pathogens

When composting meat scraps, this is the danger that presents itself most prominently. While it is highly unlikely that cooked meat will create this issue, raw meat may be infected with a variety of microorganisms which usually flourish in the warm and humid climate the compost heap provides.

These include Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter, and Listeria, all of which can infect humans.

Why Not Compost Meat?

Most of us have encountered the following repercussions while slipping cooked food or leftover meat into the composter:


One significant risk is that meat may be contaminated with pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli, which can make you sick. 

When contaminated meat is added to compost, the bacteria can extend throughout your compost and move on to the growing plants.


Animals may also be drawn to your compost bin or heap if it contains meat. Flies and rodents are examples of possible nuisance animals.

Since meat products emit a foul smell, putting your compost pile in a location that’s distant from your property and any outdoor meeting spots is vital.

What Type Of Meat Is Best In Compost?

When composting through a municipal program, you can compost any type of meat or bones. They have composting professionals and the right system and equipment for composting meat. 

However, when composting at home, it is best to compost cooked meat and avoid raw meat using a hot composting system for its complete decomposition.

Composting Meat Safely: 10-Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Ensure that you have the required compost bin.

The compost bin should be big enough to accommodate the green and brown materials needed for effective decomposition.

The compost bin should be at least three feet deep and three feet wide for an effective decomposition.

A big compost is recommended since the meat should be deep inside not to attract pests and flies. 

Step 2: Add hays into the compost.

Adding hay deep down in the compost will help keep it hot and allow for aeration, which is needed for decomposition.

Step 3: Add your meat into the compost.

Add it deep in the middle of the compost to receive a high temperature (at least 140 degrees Celsius) and prevent the smell from reaching rodents and pathogens. 

Step 4: Add carbon materials on top of the meat.

Your compost needs carbon-rich materials to provide energy for the microorganisms as they break down organic materials.

Some of the brown materials you can easily access and add to your compost include; dry leaves, shredded paper, straws, and sawdust.

Step 5: Add other green materials to the compost.

The green material provides the compost with nitrogen-rich nutrients necessary for composting. They include; grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and coffee grounds.

Step 6: Spray water into the compost.

Every compost pile needs water to provide moisture for the composting process. A dry compost may never decompose.

Therefore, ensure that the compost is moist and not damp because wet compost will not decompose.

Step 7: Cover the compost tightly.

Remember, your compost needs to be hot for the meat’s decomposition. Therefore, cover it tightly to maintain the temperature inside.

Step 8: Put the compost in full sun.

Putting the compost in full sun will enable it to always have a high temperature for microbes to compost the meat.

If you put it under a shade, your compost may never reach 130 to 160 degrees. You can always use a thermometer to check its temperature.

Step 9: Leave the compost for about a month.

Since we are composing meat, you should not stir the compost weekly. Turning will bring composting meat on top and may attract rodents we are trying to keep away.

Besides, if the meat comes on top, it may not receive the required temperature for decomposition. 

Stir your compost after a month has passed.

Step 10: Seal your compost and wait for 4 to 6 months.

The wait will enable every organic matter to decompose into valuable nutrients for the soil.

The Ideal Alternative To Composting Meat

Using alternative composting methods, you can still compost your meat leftovers even if you’re not an expert composter.

For instance, you call your local composting or recycling center to find out if you can drop off meat scraps there.


Discovering composting as a way of life or even better, as nature’s way of recycling, Ana dedicates her time to trying out new methods of composting at home. Her goal is to share everything that she’s learned in the hopes that it will help others discover the amazing rewards of composting.

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