Composter Dos and Don’ts

Our swanky new composter

Image by binarydreams via Flickr

Our clients, friends and family often ask us, what can I put in my composter? Well here’s a quick list to help you out, starting with what you can put in it:

  • Organic materials:
    • for sure: this includes all types of food and drink, tea bags, coffee filters, flowers and plants (leaves, grass clippings)
    • with caution: corn cobs, pine needles (take a long time to decompose), milk (in small amounts), soap scraps (Ivory and Dove only)
    • avoid: raw meat scraps, bones and carnivore manure (unless you can heat your composter up to a very high temperature and cook out any bacteria)
  • Paper materials:
    • Paper napkins/towels, post-it notes, shredded newspaper , kleenex tissues, unpaid bills (this is my favourite!), movie tickets stubs, shredded cereal boxes, grocery receipts and greeting card envelopes.  Remember to shred paper/cardboard before adding to your composter
  • Other Miscellaneous:
    • Who knew? Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks), old leather gardening gloves. straw, leather wallets, lint from clothes dryer, fingernail and toenail clippings, wooden toothpicks, pencil shavings, wool socks, leather watch bands, vacuum cleaner bag contents, dead bees and flies and urine (it’s sterile, really)
  • Do compost as often or as seldom as you like
  • Do put your composter in the sun for at least part of the day (the sun helps cook down what’s inside)
  • Do roll your composter to help mix the contents if you can
  • Don’t compost only organic materials or only paper materials.  A good compost includes a good mix of both.

We use two large recycled olive barrels for our composters.  They’re light weight and easy to roll (mix) and blend into our foliage.  But if you’re looking for a more commerical style composter we’re happy to tell you we’re in the process of sourcing a composter supplier.  Check our site soon for details on which composters you can choose from. 

If you live in Toronto we invite you take the Free Me From the Green Bin Challenge where you try to compost everything for a full month thereby eliminating the need for your green bin.  Your garbage man will thank you.

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic

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