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How to Compost Egg Shells, Meat, & Sour Milk
There's a reason that many compost guides discourage composting animal products. These kitchen scraps are organic, but they harbor some unhealthy bacteria and can attract unwanted animal attention. It's still possible to compost animal products, and here's a quick guide on how to compost meat, bones, fat, egg shells, and other unsavory kitchen scraps.
Scroll down to see the composters we carry that work well with meat, bones and dairy.
First off, here's some background information. The bacteria that do most of the work in a compost pile are aerobic bacteria, but the bacteria that thrive on meat scraps are anaerobic. The difference between these two types of bacteria is how they generate energy.
Aerobic bacteria require oxygen to digest waste. Their bodies oxidize carbon compounds and generate heat as a byproduct of their growth and reproduction. There are many different types of aerobic bacteria, and when they work together they can eat nearly anything. Aerobic microbes also require nitrogen to produce proteins so they can grow and reproduce. Beneficial bacteria obtain energy from organic material, and they produce heat as a byproduct. This heat accelerates the activity of other bacteria in a reinforcing cycle.
On the other hand, anaerobic bacteria grow quickly in areas without fresh air. They break down proteins to generate energy, and do not produce much heat. They also produce some very smelly byproducts that can make a compost pile stink like rotten eggs or sour milk.
These smells often attract scavengers. Compost that contains meat can attract mice, skunks, buzzards, and even bears. Biting flies will also lay their eggs in this type of compost, which leads to more flies and more bites. All of these scavengers take nutrients from the compost pile that would be better used as fertilizer.
It's still possible to compost animal products, but this requires a specially designed composter. Composters that can handle meat and milk products have several common features.
1) They are air tight or otherwise designed to contain odors.
2) They have reinforced sides to keep scavengers out.
3) They have aerating features that bring fresh oxygen in and promote the activity of aerobic bacteria, or in the case of the bokashi composters, they use special anaerobic bacteria.
4) They are insulated to generate high temperatures that thermophilic bacteria use to break down proteins.
We offer several composters that have all of these features and are appropriate for different locations. These composters can handle all types of organic scraps, and they don't require meat to generate compost. Choose the one that fits your needs, and put all of your kitchen scraps to use!
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