Kitchen Composting 101

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Kitchen composting (a.k.a. countertop composting) is like the Boston Terrier of the compost world – it’s not as big as its backyard brother, but don’t underestimate the strength of these pint-size piles.

Why Compost?

There are two reasons to countertop compost:

1. To compost items on a smaller scale to use as plant food.

Unlike large-scale compost piles, the point of this kitchen composting system isn’t to create super nutrient rich fertilizer – it’s to make plant food that you can give to your plants on a weekly basis.

2. To collect food items in the kitchen until you transfer them to a larger compost bin in your yard or neighborhood.

That way, you’re not hauling scraps outside every day.

How to Kitchen Compost

You’ll need: container, drill, charcoal filter (the type used for cat litter boxes), scissors, glue, large spoon or bowl scraper and a food processor (optional)

1. Choose a container.

You can go the upcycle route and use an old metal container (coffee cans work well), or you can purchase a countertop compost jar (check online retailers or stores like Williams-Sonoma).

If you’re only temporarily storing food until it goes outside, your bin doesn’t need holes.

If you’re making plant food, either drill holes in the lid yourself or purchase a bin with holes.

2. Prevent stink (and bugs).

Cut a circle of charcoal filter that can fit tightly in the underside of the container lid. Glue the filter to the lid.

Oxygen will still move through the lid holes, but the filter will keep bugs out and prevent odors.

3. Make some compost. 

As you prepare a meal, toss raw foods into your container. If you’re not sure what can be composted, check out this list of items to avoid.

Every time something is added to the container, mix it up with a spoon or bowl scraper. Store your container on the countertop (hence the name) or under the sink.

4. Process your compost (optional). 

This isn’t necessary, but it does make it easier for you to use your kitchen compost as plant food.

When the compost bin is full, run the items through a food processor (a powerful blender will also work) until it’s a course mix. Then, add the mix to your plant soil.

Tip: If you live in a dry region, it helps to combine the mixture with peat moss to prevent dry clumps.

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