Composting kitchen scraps is one of the best and most readily available sources of organic materials for home composting.
Why? Because kitchen scraps such as vegetable and fruit waste, meal leftovers, coffee grounds, tea bags, stale bread, and general refrigerator spoilage are everyday occurrences in most households. And composting these scraps is easy!
The best way to store food scraps until it’s time to throw them into the compost is to collect them in a kitchen compost pail, crock, or bucket with a tight fitting lid. The collection container should be sized for your needs and kitchen space, and located in a convenient place, generally next to the sink or beneath it.
Empty your scraps daily or every few days, depending on how much waste you generate. To insure that no smells permeate the kitchen you can always cover the scraps inside the container with a wet paper towel or newspaper.
If your compost pile or bin is located a distance away from the kitchen, it can be helpful to have a larger food scrap bucket (ours is five-gallon plastic bucket with a lid) outside for storing scraps over a few days until you’re ready to haul it all out to the compost pile.
Wondering what food scraps you can compost? Here’s a list to help guide you!
- All your vegetable and fruit wastes, (including rinds and cores) even if they are moldy and ugly
- Old bread, cookies, crackers, pizza crust, pasta: anything made out of flour!
- Grains (cooked or uncooked): rice, barley, oats — you name it
- Coffee grounds, tea bags, filters
- Fruit or vegetable pulp from juicing
- Old spices
- The contents of outdated boxed foods from the pantry
- Egg shells (crush well)
- Corn cobs and husks (cobs break down very slowly)
Some food waste can attract rodents or other scavenging animals, and cause your pile to become anaerobic and smelly. These are best avoided.
- Meat or meat waste, such as bones, fat, gristle, skin, etc.
- Fish or fish waste
- Dairy products, such as cheese, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.
- Grease and oils of any kind
Kitchen scraps are only half of the ingredients needed to make a healthy compost pile. If you don’t have a compost bin or pile yet, here’s our guide on how to compost, and tips for maintaining healthy compost.
Of course composting helps recycle waste, but it’s important to reduce waste too. Carrot top pesto is an inventive way to use every part of the vegetable. For more tips on how to conserve in the kitchen, check out this post on one of our favorite blogs: EcoCentric. It will not only help cut your food waste, but also save you money!