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Old 12-15-2010, 09:48 AM
Location: SoCal
559 posts, read 1,123,576 times
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I'd like to try composting in a plastic storage bin but every website I've read says that holes are necessary for aeration, drainage and possibly to allow worms or other organisms to enter the compost. Is it possible to compost in a closed, non-vented plastic storage bin? I'd rather not have to perforate it so that I can move it without stuff falling out of it and also so I can re-use it if composting isn't for me. What if I leave the lid ajar and/or frequently turn the mixture? I live in L.A. so freezing is not an issue although winter overnight lows can dip into the 40's.

I recently went to a local green-living show and spoke to a woman who had compost in a non-drilled plastic bin of the sort used to store household items. I asked her if she was composting in that container and she said, "yes." At the time, I didn't know enough about home composting so I didn't ask any good follow-up questions.

Most composting sites recommend against composting meat and dairy due to problems of odor and animal intrusion. A closed plastic container wouldn't be as vulnerable as a wire mesh cube so is it possible to compost small amounts of meat bits? What about fish bones? The movie, "Dirt," showed a city composting mountains of fish waste into dark, rich, non-stinky compost. If composting is a no-go, what is the ecologically right thing to do with meat and dairy waste (besides not consuming it in the first place)?

I understand that paper and cardboard are compostable. Is it ecologically more sensible to recycle those (saving trees) rather than compost them? I'm especially wondering about corrugated cardboard and brown paper bags, which use long, high quality fibers for strength, and presumably can go through multiple rounds of recycling?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:53 PM
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Feral cats are a good disposal system for meat and dairy waste. But it has to be fresh. Even feral cats have good taste.
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Old 12-15-2010, 02:18 PM
Location: central Indiana
220 posts, read 387,232 times
Reputation: 162
I have a vermiculture setup in the basement, using two large plastic totes. One tote (1) has had 1/16 inch holes drilled into it in the bottom, sides and lid. The second tote (2) has two pieces of PVC pipe in the bottom. The drilled tote is placed inside the second tote, using the pipes as spacers for the compost tea to drain into the bottom of tote (2). I loaded the tote (1) with about a half gallon of dirt, some dried leaves, shredded paper, coffee grounds, filters, egg shells, etc. and two dozen red worms.

Ten months later I have plenty of worms, dark rich compost, compost tea, and an indoor method of getting rid of most kitchen waste. There is no odor. No flying insects. The biggest hassle is lifting the full tote (1) to remove compost tea as desired.

If I were to make another, I think I would use a tote that has been fitted with a drain valve for removing the liquid by-products. There are many videos available on YouTube if you want some visual cues on how to make your own equipment.

I know enough folks with dogs that I have no problem getting rid of any meat scraps. Worms aren't overly fond of citrus, so I put those peels through the garbage disposal.
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