Composting the Fancy Way

Even though the kitchen at the Liberty House is mostly functioning, it has still taken me a few months to get my waste management routine down. And yes, “waste management routine” is the fancy way of saying “get my shit cleared off the counters.” That’s what I’m all about here. Fancy.

Case in point: Back at the unfinished kitchen in the Memorial House I had a four-bin system for separating burnables, recyclables, garbage, and compost. Of course, my current kitchen doesn’t have anything nearly so organized (yet) but I still haven’t been able to bring myself to just toss everything in one trash bin and throw it away.

Instead what I’ve been doing–because I’m so fancy–is collecting my compostable food scraps on a paper plate on the kitchen counter, and eventually taking them outside and hurling them into the back field.

If you’re from the city and unfamiliar with what it’s like to live in the country, here’s a little insight: Country folk shot-put our table scraps for fun. Sometimes I include the dead mice my cat leaves in the bed too, for a little variety.

There are two big issues with this system. The first is that there’s always an unsightly mound of vegetable peelings sitting on the counter (which is probably attracting those mice in the first place.) And of course, even more awesome than looking at a pile of decomposing vegetable scraps in the kitchen is smelling them. So. Something needed to be done.

As it turns out, I’m not the first person to have this problem, and–god bless the internet–look what I found:


A nice ceramic kitchen compost pail from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm.

It sits on the counter and collects compostable scraps, and since it has a charcoal filter in the lid… no smell.


When it gets full, which is about every other day, I take it out to the compost bin behind the barn.


This is actually my own personal waste disposal area, since at least 60% of my garbage is compost and burnables.

The unfortunate thing about the compost bin at the moment is the complete lack of miniature donkeys on this property…


Whose major talent, just after playing follow the leader and giving donkey hugs cf course, is creating fertilizer that is great for the compost bin.

If you’re wondering about my girls, I hear they’re still having fun and causing trouble at Memorial. Unless something crazy happens I’ve decided PJ and Lucy are going to stay there and I’ll be gettin new mini’s from a breeder up near my area. And, given the sheer volume of work I have to get through this summer, it’s likely that won’t be until next spring.

Until then I’ll be composting with the usual materials– vegetable scraps, newspapers, ash, and clippings. But, thanks to my kitchen compost pail, I’ll be doing it in style.

9 Responses

  1. I use an old plastic container but sometimes we don’t feel like taking it out right away & things get nasty – no mice but lots of fruit flies. I think I’ve seen a cobalt blue one that would look great in my kitchen!

  2. Hi! I normally just lurk and watch your awesome diy-baddassery (what? that’s totally a word) from afar, but today — because I’d like to be slightly-less-hillbilly too — I’m compelled to ask: does the charcoal filter really prevent the smell? I’ve been considering one of those compost pails for years (procrastination is my #1 skill), but I’ve been skeptical about the odor issue. Would you be willing to give a follow-up report? Thx – have a great weekend!

    1. I have this exact pail, although I bought it elsewhere, and I use it regularly. I’ve never noticed a smell with it, but when you’re empyting it every other day or three, things don’t really have a chance to get smelly. I’ll also note that at they sell compostable liners for this pail so you can just throw the bag and everything in the compost pile. Keeps the crock much cleaner.

  3. Why is it that the stuff for compost in my kitchen doesn’t smell? Is it because I’m a vegetarian and there’s no meat or fish in it?

    1. Actually, meat is not compostable so I dont think that’s it! You must just not have stinky fruits or veggies. I think onions, bananas, and fruits are the worst offenders…

    2. If you’re a vegetarian you shouldn’t have an issue but meats of any kind should never be composted. Other things that shouldn’t be composted: anything with grease/fats on it, manure from meat-eating animals, diseased plants, colored paper, synthetic chemicals. These things can contaminate the pile with chemicals or diseases or attract pests to the pile.

      Things other than standard food scraps that can be composted: wood ash, cardboard, newspaper, plain white paper towels, leaves, egg shells, coffee grounds, pine needles, sawdust from untreated wood, manure from vegetarian animals, grass clippings, seaweed.

  4. I grew up dumping compostables “over the back” which mean down this little slope in the woods on our property, so when I moved to my 3rd floor apartment that backed up to a park, I used to throw it as far as I could from my balcony. It was like a fun game.

  5. I have less counter space than I do fridge space, so I leave my compostables in a bowl in the fridge until I’m ready to dump them. Low on stink but high on hillbilly: I use a show cap to cover the lid of the bowl.

  6. Composting certainly a useful way of returning goodness to the earth, us city folk make do with composting bins, the smell and rats. Great in the heat of summer! 🙁

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