Storing Kitchen Scraps

I’m a big believer that composting shouldn’t cost you a lot of time or money so I like storing my kitchen scraps in a plastic container lined with a small paper bag.

I use an old pineapple container lined with a paper bag for wine bottles but I’ll use any small brown paper bag as long as its not coated or is too heavy or glued like paper shopping bags. I like pineapple containers because they’re clear so you can see if the bag is too wet so the bag doesn’t fall apart unexpectedly or leak when you remove it. And wine bags because they’re brown paper, long, skinny, and free. The long bag makes it easy to knock tea strainers against the wall in the bag without making a mess. And you can press items down by pushing down the bag without getting your hands too grimy.

In a pinch sometimes I’ll just use the container but the bag makes it easier to remove the scraps and toss in the bin since I often have lots of tea leaves and coffee grounds in there. The brown paper bag can go straight into the compost and even acts as cover to prevent fruit flies. The worms make their way into the bottom of the bag pretty quickly even if the top looks perfectly in tact. I still cover the compost with newspaper just in case since my bag is often overflowing by the time I put it in the bin but if you’re in a hurry you could throw the bag in the bin and deal with coverage later, just crumple the bag at the top to make sure the food is completely covered.

On the counter, the bags are easy to close up loosely to prevent fruit flies and I find coffee grounds are a great addition to keep smells and flies at bay. A few friends have tried those carbon filter containers but they end up never wanting to open it because they know all the smells are trapped inside.

If you don’t drink coffee and don’t want to pick up grounds from your local coffee shop just toss the bag more frequently. I’ve found with coffee grounds I can leave a bag on the counter for about a week before throwing it into the bin. Mind you, that’s with regular raw food scraps, if you’re working with fruits and vegetables that have already started to go off or have been cooked (without oil) you may want to put it in sooner.

For major cooking occasions like Thanksgiving or big dinner parties I’ll often use a larger paper bag on a plate.

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