This is Day 66 of the Green in 365 series!
Writing about starting a compost pile is likely to bring up a lot of questions, so I thought I’d answer some of the main questions I get about composting all together in one place.
Please remember that I am not a master composter, this is just our family’s experience with our little backyard compost. I always recommend that you do your own research, and try things out for yourself to see how they will work for you and your family!
FAQ: Getting Started with Composting
Won’t animals get into an open compost pile? Or will our dog get into our compost pile?
This is one of the main questions that I hear, a concern about pets or wild animals getting into your open compost pile. In our experience this has not been an issue at all. We live in the city, but have had all kinds of animals in our backyard, from raccoons and baby raccoons, to possums and baby possoms, a skunk, rabbits, mice, and of course, squirrels. In case you might think the compost pile attracted the raccoons and possums, we had them before we started composting.
We’ve never noticed a problem with animals getting into our compost pile. Maybe they do and we just don’t know, but we don’t see evidence of animals digging through it.
Also, our dog leaves our compost pile alone, she doesn’t get into it at all. But, she is not one of those dogs that eats all kinds of table scraps, so maybe that is why. As long as you keep meat items out of your compost pile, you shouldn’t have a problem with animals getting into it.
If you’re really concerned about animals, or have a pet that would get into it, you probably want to get an enclosed compost container. My friend Dusty, who shared that her dog would get into their compost, recommended one in the comments of yesterdays post.
Does it stink?
Some people worry that a compost pile will stink with all of that food waste and decomposing material. But a compost pile that is breaking down correctly with a balance ratio of green and brown material shouldn’t stink. I’ve never noticed a smell coming from our compost pile, and as the organic matter breaks down into soil, it actually has a strong, good smell of earth.
Will the neighbors mind?
As I said earlier, we live in the city and have a pretty small yard. We do have a fence around our yard on all sides, and a privacy fence on one side and the back, so I doubt our neighbors even know that we have a compost pile. I would say if your neighbors mind, you have too nosy of neighbors!
How do I collect my food scraps inside?
It really doesn’t have to be complicated. There are special indoor compost pails that have carbon filters which are supposed to help with any smell, but I have found that just using a container with a lid helps to keep any smell at bay and keeps bugs, like fruit flies, away. We use an old plastic ice cream container that has a handle and a lid. You can even use a bowl without a lid, you’ll just have to empty it more often.
In the summer, when we’re eating a lot of produce, we empty our indoor bin to the compost pile once a day, sometimes more. If you can’t access your pile during the winter, or you don’t want to to take it out as often, you can always store your compostable material in the freezer, where it won’t smell or rot.
What can I put in my compost?
I’m not an expert at this, so I’ll direct you to this great list that includes just about everything you could think of from Small Footprint Family. We mainly do fruit and veggie scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, grass clippings and other yard waste, leaves, small sticks, and sometimes shredded newspapers.
You want to be sure to avoid any meat or dairy products, and fats and oils. Also do NOT put any animal waste or grass clippings/yard waste that have been treated with pesticides or fertilizers.
If you have any other questions about starting to compost, please leave them in the comments and I’ll try my best to answer them!
Find all the Green in 365 posts.
If you’d like to learn more about living green and living frugally I’d love to have you as a Live Renewed reader! You can subscribe, either by email or in a reader, to get the latest posts, ideas and inspiration for living frugally green. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
*Disclosure – There are affiliate links in this post. If you make a purchase through one of my links, I’ll receive a small commission. Thanks for supporting Live Renewed!