Save yourself some cleanup: Line kitchen scrap container with shredded paper & add to compost

shredded paper for compost
Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

A lot us of keep a container in the kitchen so we can collect potato peels, orange rinds, tea bags and other scraps for our compost pile.

I use an old plastic container that has a cracked lid. Your container might be as simple as a used coffee can. You don’t need anything fancy.

Here’s my big confession: I don’t like to wash out the container. I mean, you’re basically using it to collect garbage. It’s not like you’re going to eat out of it.

But the container can get kind of gross inside. The carrot peels curl up and stick to the sides like they’re glued in place, the coffee grounds find their way into every nook and cranny, and various liquids coat the sides and bottom.

If you let it go too long, it could get smelly, and who wants something that yukky in their kitchen? So I eventually break down and wash the container, but by then it’s hard to get clean.

What I do now is throw a handful of shredded paper into the bottom of the container. When I set my tea bag on the paper, the paper soaks up the liquid and keeps the container clean. The coffee grounds and carrot peels tend to stay on the paper and not stick to the sides.

When the container is full, dump the whole thing, including the paper, onto your compost pile.

The container needs to be cleaned less frequently and when I do wash it, it’s easier to clean.

In addition to shredding sensitive documents such as credit card statements, I sometimes will shred newspaper just so I have plenty of paper to use this way.

The paper will break down nicely in your compost pile and you’ll have a great additive for your soil.



5 Comments on “Save yourself some cleanup: Line kitchen scrap container with shredded paper & add to compost

  1. I keep a plastic bag in my freezer for kitchen scraps. When the bag is full, I take it out and empty it in the compost pile. This way I don’t have to deal with a smelly, messy container. I do this year round and it works great for me.

  2. I take mine out to the compost a couple times a day so really I never have the problem of storing it until full. It pays to have a little garden!

  3. Eileen, you came up with this brilliant idea before I did! You nailed it when you said the container can get slimy. That’s what makes it hard to clean.

  4. I’ve been doing this about 3 years now. It’s a great way to keep your compost collection container from getting slimy and smelly and dispose of all the shredded paper. Bonus: compost!

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