Odor Free Composting In 3 Steps

Apr 21 08:01 2009 Ellen Bell Print This Article

Have you considered home composting, but are reluctant because of the perception that compost bins are smelly?  If so, you can stop worrying now!  In this article, we'll explain the 3 simple steps you can follow to begin home composting that is virtually odor free!

One of the biggest complaints people have about composting is that it smells.  And in some cases,Guest Posting this is true.  When organic materials are heaped up in a pile and left to sit, they essentially rot, and we all know that rotting food and plants are going to smell.  But did you know that composting doesn't have to stink?  It's true!  In this article we'll explain the 3 simple steps that anyone can follow to go from smelly to odor free composting.

The first step in odorless composting is to understand the two basic methods of composting: aerobic and anaerobic.  As the name would suggest, aerobic composting requires air, specifically oxygen, to be successful.  Anaerobic composting, on the other hand, is what occurs when the compost isn't exposed to the air.

The primary differences between aerobic and anaerobic composting are speed of decomposition and odor created.  Aerobic bacteria work very quickly and efficiently.  Compost that's properly aerated can decompose to a finished product within a month or two, under the right conditions.  Anaerobic bacteria, on the other hand are very inefficient, sometimes taking as long as a couple years to produce finished compost.  Anaerobic bacteria also product methane and sulfate gasses as a byproduct of the composting process.  These gasses are bad for the environment; they are greenhouse gasses that deplete our ozone.  Furthermore, these are the gasses that smell offensive to humans.  When we think of a smelly compost heap, what we're really thinking of is anaerobic composting.  Aerobic bacteria, on the other hand, do not produce these gasses, thus the reason that aerobic composting results in little to no odor.

One of the best ways to ensure that your compost is aerobic is to use a compost tumbler.  These drum-shaped devices are usually mounted on an axel so they can spin or rotate freely.  The action of the compost turning and tumbling inside the bin aerates the material, providing the necessary oxygen for the aerobic bacteria to do their job.

If you don't have a compost tumbler, or simply don't want to invest in one, you can encourage the growth of aerobic bacteria in a regular compost heap by simply turning the material on a regular basis.  You may want to invest in a long handled tool such as a large shovel or pitchfork to make the turning process easier.  Regardless of whether you have a compost tumbler or a basic compost heap, you should aim for turning the material every 2 to 3 days for best results.

The second step in odorless composting is to maintain the appropriate ratio of browns and greens in the bin.  Examples of browns, or carbon rich materials, include dried leaves, shredded paper, sawdust, and dryer lint.  Examples of greens, or nitrogen rich materials, include green grass clippings, vegetable or fruit peelings, cooked rice and pasta, and seaweed or other aquarium plants.  If you get compost bin with too many greens, the material will begin to smell.  This is easy to adjust by simply adding more browns.  In addition to the items listed above, other browns might include peat moss, pencil shavings, shredded paper napkins, coffee grounds, chopped hay or straw, potting soil, nut shells, and tea bags.  Finished compost will also act as a brown material.

The third and last step in avoiding a smelly compost bin is to keep out all meats, eggs, and dairy products.  When the proteins in these items break down, they create an unpleasant odor.  Also to be avoided are any fatty wastes including butter, shortening, cooking oils, lard, and other animal fats.

And that's all there is to it!  With 3 simple steps, you can change your smelly and slow compost heap into a lean, mean, and odorless composting system that will turn out finished compost in a matter of weeks.  So what are you waiting for?  Begin your odorless composting system today!

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About Article Author

Ellen Bell
Ellen Bell

Ellen Bell works for Home Products 'n' More, a retail website offering composting tumblers and other compost bins, all with free shipping and handling!  For more great gardening products, visit us at http://www.homeproductsnmore.com/Garden_Edging_s/144.htm

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