There are 3 composting methods you can choose to make good compost from kitchen waste: electric, traditional, and worm composting. Electric composting is the simplest, quickest, and can be done indoors, including in small apartments. It’s also the most expensive method. The cheapest method is traditional composting (compost piles), including trench composting.
If you don’t want to waste time and energy creating a compost that will fail, I recommend paying attention to the composition of your kitchen waste.
There are two categories: organic waste (vegetable and fruit peels, for example) and leftovers from dairy products (cheese, butter, milk, etc.)
The appropriate method to compost the refuse and the steps to take are determined by the quantity and the type of kitchen waste you produce in your house.
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What Kinds of Kitchen Waste Should Be Composted?
Anything from your kitchen can go into the compost bin, as long as it isn’t wrapped in polythene paper. Polythene takes years to degrade. Almost any organic waste can be composted, from eggshells to coffee grounds.
other things you can compost:
- Tea bags (if biodegradable) or tea leaves
- Leftover meals (no meat, dairy or oily scraps)
- Bread crumbs
- Fruit peelings
- Herbs and spices
What Kitchen Waste Not to Compost?
I didn’t include dairy products like cheese or meat in the above list. Yes, they’re biodegradable, but adding them to the compost bin can make it smell bad, it can also introduce pathogens. As a result, it’s best to avoid them or add them in small quantities.
if you are set on trying to compost cheese or meat, check my step-by-step guides:
If you are vermicomposting, DO NOT ADD ANY DAIRY PRODUCTS; earthworms can’t digest them.
Nutshells should not be composted because they take a long time to decompose. They can, however, be dried and ground into a powder before being added to the bin.
Also, before tossing veggie/fruit peelings into the compost pile, remember to remove the plastic stickers from the fruit.
Check out my complete list of what not to compost.
Easy ways to Compost Kitchen Waste
There are at least 3 ways of composting kitchen waste. These include:
- Worm composting
- Electric composting (the easiest but not the cheapest)
- Traditional composting
Traditional composting will require frequent turning but allows the composting of large amounts of kitchen waste.
Worm composting, also known as vermicomposting, is ideal for small-scale composting. Worms are the primary decomposers. However, when vermicomposting, you cannot compost dairy products, unlike electric or traditional composting.
Finally, there is electric composting. As the name implies, it is a modern composting method where you only need less than 15 hours to prepare your compost.
1. Worm Composting
You will need the following;
- A worm bin; you can purchase it on Amazon, but if you have a large flat container with a height of about 1 ft, you’re set.
- Shredded newspaper
- Garden soil
- Food scraps
Step 1. Place the bin in a temperature-controlled environment. Placing the bin near a window will provide adequate lighting. You can place the container outside but cover it with a shed to keep the rain from flooding it.
Step 2. Soak the shredded newspapers in water and spread it at the bottom of the worm bin.
Step 3: Fill the bin halfway with garden soil and distribute it evenly. Then, on top of the soil, spread the kitchen waste.
Step 4: Finally, combine the composting materials using a spade or a pitchfork. Keep the bin covered for 2 days. Then, place the worms in the container. Spread them over the composting materials; they will find their way through the organic matter.
The compost will take about 6 weeks to be ready.
2. Electric Composting
Do you live in an apartment and don’t think having a compost bin or a worm bin in your house is a good idea?
Electric composting is the solution. It’s less stressful, there is no foul odor, takes less time, but most importantly, you can compost dairy products.
You will need the following;
An electric composter. There are dozens of them on Amazon, and they come in different sizes depending on how much kitchen waste you produce.
Toss the kitchen scraps in the bin, seal the lib, plug in the cable into a power source and turn it on; that’s it. The electric composter will heat the refuse, grind it into small pieces, and then cool it.
The entire process takes less than 15 hours, and your compost will be ready for use.
Electric composting is the quickest, but it’s not the cheapest method of waste management.
3. Traditional Composting
Traditional composting allows you to compost kitchen waste outside. The method is also known as hot composting.
As the microbes break down the organic materials, the composting process raises the temperature to over 100 degrees Celsius. Hence, the name hot composting.
You will need the following;
- Brown materials; these include dry leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, sawdust, etc. These are carbon-rich and act as a bulking agent. You can also use cardboard and newspapers.
- Green materials; they’re rich in nitrogen; think banana peels, veggies, and other organic kitchen waste.
- A tumbler or a composting bin; however, if you don’t have either, choose a location, dig out the grass, and dig a 1 ft deep trench (find more about trench composting here).
Step 1. Place the brown materials into the composting bin, followed by the green materials. Layer browns and greens until you’re out of your composting waste.
Step 2. Using a pitchfork, combine the ingredients. If the pile is dry, add water. Ensure the materials are well mixed.
Step 3. Seal the compost bin and wait for the temperature to rise to around 120 degrees (this could take several days), then turn the compost once you notice the heat begins to drop. Repeat the process for about 8-10 weeks.
Turning the compost ensures good aeration for the microbes to function properly.