Stop Food Waste Week

Composting Food Waste

There are five types of composting systems for handling only food:

  1. Bokashi
  2. Tumblers
  3. Digestion Cones
  4. Burial or Trenching
  5. Wormeries

Plus food can be added to holding and turning composting systems for garden materials.

For all systems, it is critical that the food be contained within a sealed container or buried in the soil, wormery or in the compost pile to minimize odour and prevent pest infestation from insects, birds or rodents. It is equally important to only use plant derived food for all systems except for bokashi and digestion cones. Because these systems are sealed, they are designed to handle food scraps of both plant and animal origin (meat, skins, fat, shells and small bones).

Adding food scraps to a holding bin is easy. Simply dig a hole or trench in your pile, add the food scraps and mix them with the materials below. Then cover with the materials initially removed. Another way to do it is to add and mix the food scraps with the materials in the top part of the bin and then cover with a mix of fresh garden materials.

You can also add food scraps when making a batch of compost for a turning system or when turning the pile for the first time. When making a new pile, simply mix the food scraps with the landscape trimmings that are placed in the bottom or middle of the pile. Be sure to top the pile up with a mix of only garden materials to bury the food in the pile and prevent access to it by pests. Likewise, when you turn the pile for the first time, you can mix food scraps with the materials that are being placed into the bottom or middle section of the second bin. Again cover the mixture of food and garden materials with the partially composted materials from the first bin. In these hot systems, food can break down in as little as a week due to high temperatures and increased biological activity of the pile. It is not recommended to add food scraps when turning the pile for the second time because the materials are cooling off, there is less biological activity and the compost process is almost finished.

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