Preparing Food Scraps

Preparation of Food Scraps for Faster Composting

The process of composting is simple and natural.  If you take a few minutes to do some preparation of your food scraps the composting process will be quicker.  The key is that the organisms that do most of the breakdown of our food scraps are mostly microscopic and they work just on the surface area of the food–the smaller the pieces, the more surface area!  So it is best of larger food scraps are cut up into smaller pieces.

What you need:

container for collecting food scraps on the kitchen counter – quart yogurt containers, a wide-mouth jar with a lid or a more decorative container with a lid all work well; many specialty containers are made specifically for collecting food scraps for composting

kitchen knife or scissors

• cutting board

What to do:

• place the collection container in a convenient spot – on the counter top, under the sink, etc.

• if you are preparing a big meal use a larger bowl to collect all of your food scraps

• process your food scraps into pieces as you prepare your meal – about 1-2 inches in the largest dimension is good

• when the counter top container or bowel is full, add the food scraps to the 5-gallon bucket with the lid supplied to you; the 5-gallon bucket should be kept tightly closed with the lid supplied

• note: if you have a problem with fruit flies we can supply you with a fruit fly trap that works well

What goes in?

any vegetable or fruit scraps, raw or cooked; pasta, bread, cereals (raw or cooked), bits of packaged foods left over

egg shells — crush them up a bit

inedible leftovers of prepared foods – pizza, last week’s dinner, moldy bread, etc.

coffee grounds and filters

tea bags (except those made of nylon) — tear the bag and remove the staple

• paper that can’t be easily recycled – tissue paper, lightly soiled Kleenex or paper towels, etc.; larger pieces of paper item must be shredded or torn into small pieces

What doesn’t go in?

no meat, fat, dairy products, bones, or raw eggs – these materials would break down, but they risk

attracting pests and will create bad odors as they decay

• no plastic, metal, glass, rubber bands, twist-ties, heavily sized paper, etc.

What do I do when my bucket is full?

call or e-mail us and we will arrange a timely pickup of your bucket and leave a clean one for you

in very hot weather we can pick up your bucket more frequently, even if it is not completely full, to avoid the build up of bad odors or fruit flies

This guide is based on materials provided by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County.

Prepared by Tom Shelley, 5-1-09.


One Response to “Preparing Food Scraps”

  1. 2010 in review « Steep Hollow Farm Says:

    […] Preparing Food Scraps June 2009 5 […]

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