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Whether you compost in your own yard or use the city curbside compost pick up, you’ll need a good way to store your compost in the kitchen. Using a kitchen compost bin means you don’t have to run outside every time you peel a banana or have an apple core to toss. It’s much easier to have a place to put them in the kitchen and take it out in one fell swoop. Here are some kitchen compost bin tips that will help you keep things clean smelling and fruit fly free.
5 Useful Kitchen Compost Bin Tips That Will Keep Things Tidy
I was a little bit shocked when we moved from Portland to San Antonio, because while both cities offer citywide curbside composting nobody in San Antonio puts out their yard waste containers! There is an abundance of giant trash cans, which is a shame, since composting is so easy AND it can cut down your garbage bill.
It just takes a slight change of habit to start separating your compost from your garbage in the kitchen.
Use a wide container that can go into the dishwasher
Make a super easy place to set food scraps. My family likes to use wide mouthed metal bowls. They sit next to our garbage can under the sink, and are easy to pull out and set onto the counter to scrap plates into after meals.
Because I have a few of them it’s very easy to pop one into the dishwasher after taking it out to the compost bin and still have one available for new scraps.
Those pretty crocks look nice, but they really aren’t practical for consistent use! For a really cheap option, you could even try those plastic ice cream tubs!
Use a liner
If you are using a city provided cart instead of your own bin, I highly recommend purchasing some approved liners that you can throw right into the can. Using a liner keeps your outdoor can cleaner. It also keeps your kitchen compost bin cleaner if you have a lot of wet things that go into it.
If you get the right type, they will also break down in your backyard compost. Here are the kind I like to use.
Skip the lid
I see a lot of kitchen compost bins that feature lids so you can keep it right on your counter. In my experience, having a lid just makes it harder to use. Most lids won’t keep out fruit flies anyway, and are just another thing to keep track of and clean. Keep it as streamlined and as easy as possible!
Take it out frequently
The real secret to having a non-smelly kitchen compost is to take it out frequently. Don’t expect to leave your food scraps sitting for a week. Plan a little jaunt outside to empty it every couple of days. I enjoy the walk out to the compost bin, and it gives me a chance to check on the peach tree nearby.
Using a container that’s appropriately sized to the amount of compost you produce helps with this. If you only make a small amount of compost, use a smaller bowl and take it out when it’s full. For our family of six, a large bowl is perfect.
If I tried to use something as big as a five gallon bucket then I’d forget to take it out and we would end up with odor problems.
Keep it in the freezer
One of the best tricks for households that produce a small amount of compost is to keep a compostable bag in the freezer and just add the scraps directly to it. The night before your curbside pick up tie off the bag and walk it out to the curb. Depending on the weather, it might not even defrost before the truck hauls it off!
If it’s hot out, and you’re worried about the bag leaking, make sure to place it on top of something absorbent in the can such as leaves or grass clippings.
Don’t let fruit flies take hold
Keeping your compost bowl in the freezer also helps if you need to get rid of a batch of fruit flies. I had a swarm that came home in a package of tomatoes from the store, and they just had to go. I put all my fruit and vegetables into the refrigerator, and all my compost scraps into the freezer.
Fruit flies can breed in your dishcloth and in your drain pipes, so if you need to get rid of them wash your dish cloth every day and pour boiling water into your sink once per day as well.
Make a little trap for the adults by pouring apple cider vinegar (here’s how to make your own!) into a jar, cover the jar with a bit of plastic and poke some holes into the plastic top. The fruit flies find their way into the jar, but have a harder time getting back out.
It took a few days of keeping my compost in the freezer and setting out the fruit fly traps, but the swarm that came from those tomatoes is now gone, and my compost is sitting happily under my sink again.
Separating your compostables from your kitchen garbage is a simple way to reduce the amount of trash your produce. Find a way to make it easy and doable for your needs, and enjoy knowing your are helping to create a beneficial resource!
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