Saturday, December 22, 2012

Composting in the Kitchen

     I saw a kitchen composter on the PBS program, America’s Test Kitchen.  At a price from $20 to $45, the lid is tight and there is a scent container to keep the decomposing matter smell in the composter.  One design has a filter that keeps the smell in but the shiny fancy filtered pail did not have a locking lid and posed a threat of spilling out if tipped accidentally.  That’s a smell I don’t want in the kitchen!  There are many models to choose from and I just saw a pic of a composter from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

     So, off to the discount stores I went to find a tightly locking plastic pail along the lines of a diaper pail.  I knew there would not be a diaper pail on the market like the ones I used in the 70s so I set out to design my own pail for a composting system.  I found a small garbage pail with a lid that snapped on tight.  When I picked up the pail by the lid, the pail stayed attached.  I also bought a $1 mouse pad to use as a gasket and a small basket.  The basket I bought might have been intended to organize drawers.  It wasn't much different than a strawberry basket from the grocers.  The cost was a total of $7.

     I cut a hole by removing three of the struts from one end of the basket, so I can put moth balls in.  I glued the basket to the inner lid of the pail.  I used a plastic safe two part epoxy because I wanted it to stay forever.  I also cut the mouse pad in curved strips and glued it to the lip of the pail.

     That’s it!  I now have a kitchen composter under the sink that I can use to catch the rinds, skins, peels, and shell from eggs as well as any other organic material that is NOT meat!  For more information on composting, go to  This is a great time of year to get started with all the extra kitchen rubbish we go through for the holiday dinners!  Then the compost will be there when we put in the spring starter plants in the garden.

     I can compost a bit every day.  The process of decay has begun and I didn’t have to take the material out to the yard every day after preparing food.  When I have time to garden after work or weekends, I can take out the pail and dump it or work it in the compost heap outside.  There is no smell in the kitchen and the mothballs are a pleasant relief when lifting the lid outside in the hot Florida sun!  Just dump, rinse and return to the kitchen.  No bugs either!

     I am sure there are a thousand ways to improve on this design and there are thousands of patents pending somewhere.  I am not in the business of creating kitchen compost pails.  I just wanted one.  I might want to make a diaper pail as a gift for a neighbor who wants to go cloth diapers on the next baby due.  But this is an idea I hope can help you compost to improve the soil of your garden without having to trek out into the yard every day after dinner and without spending more than needed. I also want you to stop leaving peels and eggshells on the counter to tempt the eight legged wildlife to move in and take over! 

     You could also use one of your expensive gamma lids on a five gallon bucket, but, I see those as a storage device for valuable supplies.  We are talking rotten veggies, here.  Go cheap!

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