Here is a question from Charity:
I’m starting a worm compost bin. I haven’t even added the
worms yet, and my fiance is already complaining that compost smells
and he doesn’t want me to do this. I’ve read about your kitchen scraps
and wondered if you had a way to keep them from smelling up the house
before you add them to the bin. Can I refrigerate them and then let
them sit out for a day or two before I put them in the bin with the
worms? Right now I just have the bedding and food scraps I already
collected sitting in the bin outside and they don’t smell, but he
isn’t convinced that this is a good idea. I’m trying to recycle and
teach our 3 kids to be environmentally responsible, I just don’t want
him to be mad about it.
Great question! I can assure you that you are NOT alone in terms of having a less-than-enthusiastic spouse. My wife has certainly be very supportive (especially considering the entirely new levels of “crazy” I’ve managed to take my worm composting efforts to), but we’ve still had some run-ins over the years. Invariably, it has something to do with fruit flies (and or gnats) or stinky food scrap storage. haha
There are a number of possible solutions. For starters, if you do plan to let scraps sit at room temperature, it is really important to make sure they get mixed with some “bedding” as well. I tend to laugh at these kitchen scrap holders with the fancy carbon filters etc. The way I see it – if people simply stored their scraps properly, there is a good chance they wouldn’t need filters at all (and who wants to empty a nasty bucket of slimy wastes anwway?). That being said – perhaps in your case, if you combined one of these fancy holders with my bedding recommendations you could demonstrate to your husband that he really has nothing to worry about.
Likely the most important place to put your bedding is at the bottom of the container. This “false bottom” helps to encourage air flow down at the bottom, and it soaks up excess moisture – plus it makes it nice and easy to dump everything out.
I’m not saying that regular (room temperature) storage is always going to be the perfect solution (even when done as described) – some food materials just tend to break down more quickly and/or stink more than others.
One example seems to be members of the broccoli family (cabbage, broccoli, kale etc) – once these materials start to go, no amount of bedding is going to prevent your nose from detecting it (well ok – if you absolutely buried them in peat moss it probably would do the trick – haha). I’ve cut numerous aging sessions short for exactly this reason.
Freezing is an excellent option, and it serves the double benefit of helping to start the structural breakdown of the waste materials, thus making them more microbe-friendly. If you happen to have a big freezer with lots of space, it can also be a good way to stockpile excess wastes (no use overfeeding your bin, or tossing them in the regular garbage!). Perhaps the wastes could then be thawed outside in some sort of scrap holder.
What I’ve been doing as of late is creating giant scrap holders in plastic garbage cans outside – once I have enough ‘stuff’ in there (bedding + food waste) I make a batch of “Homemade Manure“). These bins can definitely get a bit gamey during warm weather though, so you might not want to try this if your husband spends a fair amount of time outside.
The fridge is an decent option – but in my mind it would only really work if you had a second fridge. I don’t think having heaps of “garbage” in their face every time the fridge is opened will help on the spousal unrest front! I get enough heat just from leaving regular produce in the fridge for too long – I can only imagine what my wife would say if she actually saw bags of rotting food waste in there! (I currently have little tubs with worm cocoons in them – but I won’t tell if you don’t! lol).
Bottom-line, Charity – if your fiance is open-minded enough to at least allow you a trial period to demonstrate that it’s not as bad as he thinks, you should be able to win him over. This is especially true if you manage to get some worm compost produced and can show him the benefits of adding it to the garden etc.
One other quick thought – this may not apply to your particular situation, but in some cases the simplest solution can be to start up a “regular” backyard composter with composting worms. Most significant others will be able to wrap their minds around the idea of using one of these systems (“garbage, worms and critters should stay outside where they belong” according to many) – and once they see what a system like this can do, perhaps they will be more open to the idea of having a smaller indoor bin as well.
Anyway – I hope this helps some!