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Composting kitchen waste [split from Cookware board]

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[NOTE: We've moved this discussion from this thread on the Cookware board http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/290831 -- THE CHOWHOUND TEAM]

Had a gold filter, got rid it for the very reason you posted. I buy unbleached coffee filters, and the used filter & grinds go in my garden composter.

If I didn't have my garden composter, the filter & grinds would go in our green waste bin. Our city has changed to a 3 bin recycling/garbage pickup in the last year. We have one small wheeled bin for garbage, and its picked up every two weeks. . (We can not put food scraps, meat bones etc, in the garbage bin )
We have a large wheeled bin for recycling, ie, glass, paper, tins, plastic, cardboard, and another large wheeled bin for garden waste, all kitchen waste, including pizza boxes & fast food containers. The garden & kitchen waste bin is picked up weekly, with the recycling bin being picked up every two weeks.
It's a good system but can be a pain in the butt making sure everything is where it should be. But, it's good to know all the kitchen waste that used to go to the dump, is now being processed into usable compost for gardeners.

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  1. OT, but...

    Your city WANTS you to put meat & bones in your Garden Waste bin??? This is the first time I've ever heard of that! Meat, fat & bone take so much longer to decompose than plant materials, & they generate undesireable "rotting" odors, that they're usually recommended against adding to yard & kitchen compost.

    Do you know how they control odors, decomposition rates, & infestation by vermin (rodents & carrion foragers)? I'd be interested to find out what they're doing! Thanks!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Eiron

      Hi Eiron
      Meat scraps, fish scraps, bones etc, go into our city green waste bin, not our backyard composter. We cannot put solid fats such as butter, lard, etc in the city green waste bin though. Our green bin is picked up weekly and taken to a fairly new regional composting facility. The composting facility has an acellerated composting system (not sure how it works) that supposedly takes care of meat scraps & bones rather quickly.
      To be honest, I've not looked into how the composting facility works, odor control, or composition rates, but can say since the new system has been adopted, I've never heard, nor read a single complaint about odor or vermin. I should try to find these things out, but at almost 69 yrs, I just follow the rules, the "how stuff works" part, I leave up to my grandkids to find out!

      Actually, we have to compost/recycle most everything here. Batteries, light bulbs, old electronics, used cooking oil, outdated meds, vitamins etc, all have to be taken to designated drop offs, they cannot go in the garbage. Our recycling/garbage trucks have camera's, & if your bins contain banned items, a warning sticker is put on the empty bin & after 3 warnings a fine is imposed. It's a great system, I'll all for it, as we cannot keep overflowing our landfills with god only knows what nowadays & expect our kids & future grandkids to live in the waste & polution we created.

      1. re: Joyfull

        San Francisco has a similar plan put in place, it sounds almost identical actually.

        They also encourage cardboard milk cartons with the wax that cant be recycled, pet, and meat waste to be put into the green bins. What happens is, it all gets shipped to a facility and put in a huge, long, plastic bag where it sits for 3 months to decompose. The bag is cut off, the compost is sifted for anything that diddn't decompose, plastic garbage will be discarded and anything decomposable gets put into the next bag to finish. The compost is then sent to organic farmers in the area. Usually vineyards, I think.

        To make sure it's all safe for gardening, they ensure that it reaches a certain temp, 140 degrees I think, for three days straight during the composting.

        Hope I could shed some light - I learned it all from a class I took several years ago while I was still getting my undergraduate degree at SFSU in a class called the geography of garbage! :)

        1. re: Mcooper

          I am a wierdo who enjoys visiting waste processing operations so thanks for your explanation. I live close to a water treatment plant that prides itself on the quality rating of its compost. In fact, I just picked up a bag to put on my plants.

        2. re: Joyfull

          It is truly shocking how far behind most US cities are, SF being a notable exception. Here in the DC area, we have pickup of combined recyclables (paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass) in addition to regular trash but many people don't comply or don't comply fully and there are no penalties. And of course no green pickups. I have a green bin under my sink to collect food waste (no bones or meat) and then take it 2x/week to the compost pile near my veggie plot.

      2. Joyfull, what kind of composter do you have? I have a large back bed with only a hickory and two lilacs, that I keep spread with leaves and stuff like that, and just toss non-obnoxious green waste over the surface instead of discarding it (food waste is allowed in our trash bins). But I know this is not particularly efficient, and I'm sure it encourages the rats, who really need none. A friend has the rotating-barrel kind and likes it a lot, though the upright bins seem a lot cheaper.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Will Owen

          Hi Will

          I have an 80 gallon heavy duty plastic upright composter, "The Earth Machine" that I bought from the city work yards, years ago. My city sells backyard composters for $30, or if you're an appartment dweller, they have 14.4 gallon earthworm composters, complete with worms, for $35..
          Our city has also made 75 gallon rain barrels available this year. They come complete with spigot & all necessary hardware, and sell for $75. On my list!

          I also have a very old 3 1/2 sqare foot wood frame/chicken wire composter that was used for excess grass clippings & leaves, but now that we can put the lawn clippings & leaves in our green recycling bin, we're planning on getting rid of the wire composter.

          I did check rolling composters at my local Lee Valley when I first decided to buy a composter, as I really liked the ease of turning the compost, but the cost of the rolling compared to the upright, was just too big a difference.

          In an ideal world, I'd have both composters, a minimum of two rain barrels, a wood chipping machine, & a glass greenhouse instead of a falling apart plastic greenhouse!