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Compost Logistics for Beginners

A Quick Rundown of Logistics for Composting as a Beginner, Featuring Vancouver, WA, USA Options.

Hello, I recently have gotten a few people asking me about how I compost. Well its most likely all different for everyone. I am not an expert! I have little experience, but I tried a few of these methods and read into them a bit. Composting is a crucial element for sustainability. It’s a beautiful thing that God created for organic matter to be re-purposed, re-used and honored. It becomes something else in creation that we all need, food for our food made from our food.

Options for in the home and the main compost bin/pile (pick one of each)

In the home/Kitchen: for the initial disposal of scraps/compostables: On kitchen counter, under kitchen sink, right outside kitchen on patio in:Ice bucket with lid (pretty)

  • Ice Bucket with lid
  • Large mason jar, glass jar with lid
  • old tin, coffee, nut, yogurt container with lid (ugly but inexpensive)
  • Any kitchen compost pale or bucket, they come in stainless steel, bamboo, ceramic, wood and more! 

From the kitchen to the compost bin/pile:

  • Live in a place that has curb side pick-up, how awesome Portland, Seattle and more!
  • Have animals that eat food scraps like pigs and chickens
  • Hire a pick-up service. Vancouver, WA: 
  • contact a farm that you can drop off scraps
  • Drop off at your friendly compost-friendly neighbors house
  • if you live near a large forest or ravine, ditch it there, it’ll decompose!
  • Pile- pick a corner or area of your yard to be your designated compost pile, you can set up 3 sides if you want it more container and cleaner looking. They also sell these – just look up Wood composter or something like that. You’ll need a pitch fork or good shovel.
  • Spinner, Rotating, tumbler compost bin
    • or you could DIY your own 
  • Worm composting, I have never tried it, but it sounds like a fun. I believe the process of composting goes faster. Downsides are you must be mindful that the worms don’t freeze, and you order the worms online (kind of weird?)
    • Usually called Worm Factory, or Tray Worm Compost bin, there are DIY versions with plastic tubs, I am not a fan of plastic but at least the Worm Factory ones are recycled plastic, the upside to plastic ones is its light to ship, store, move. here’s one website Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm
  • There are wood box style bins or even tumblers to buy on Esty
  • Youtube to make your own
  • Bury method- no turns needed. You just collect scraps and bury them at least 12 inches in your ground. good for if you are preparing a section for gardening. The slugs and worms will have at it and your soil with be nutrient rich for gardening
  • Aerating method. this person built there own and let nature do its thing with since (like the forest ground) things will compost with oxygen and bacteria- they are everywhere and free. 
  • Electronic (pricey one-time fee) like this. 
    • never tried but seems awesome! for those who aren’t too garden-y/outdoorsy, get-your-hands-dirty people
  • Stacking Terracotta composter like this 
    • Terracotta Solar Composter. This is the one where you bury the bottom, it looks pretty and you don’t really need to mix it, it may fill up depending on how much food scraps you produce,/size of composter.

The smaller tumbler could work with small yards or patios. If you only think in-home will work for you than a small electrical or solar powered. Check the last few out on this list for small in-home ones.

If I were you….

I personally am going to contact the pick-up people! But if I were you and I had the space I would make my own like the very first picture (because it’s the least expensive). If I didn’t have the space and I wanted it to look nicer I would do one similar to the terracotta solar composter. If I didn’t have space and I could spend the money I’d do one of the smaller in-home electric/solar ones. If I had kids and I was trying to teach them about waste and gardening I would do a worm bin. If it was all too overwhelming for me or I didn’t have space (studio apartment) but I wanted to care about the environment I’d do a pick-up service. The Vancouver Landscaping business that does food scrap pick up doesn’t say the price, but they give you a free estimate (maybe neighbors could go in together).

What to Compost

  • all food scraps except meat, cheese, highly processed and oily stuff (we don’t eat much of that)
  • cotton (like the top of vitamins, cotton scraps from sewing, ripped up socks, thread, twine, unbleached paper towel/napkins shredded up a bit)
  • coffee grounds with filters, tea bags, plant matter like house plant trimmings or flowers I bought for a vase, plant decor.
  • cardboard (limited dye), paper bags, newspaper, un-glossy paper again with minimal dye (paper stickers only, no plastic coating or foil coated stuff) (just tear it up a bit, or reuse it til it literally falls apart)
  • Compostable cellophane (very little of it), those stupid compostable straws, utensils (this is for my experimentation because some need to be industrial composting but I am annoyed at all of them and want to see if they break down)
  • small wood chips, wood things like chopsticks, toothpicks, skewer sticks

Compost needs some moisture (comes from veggie most likely), turning/stirring (unless stated otherwise with specific bin) and more brown than green material Carbon/nitrogen, browns are (usually brown colored) wood matter, paper, coffee grounds, eggshells, and green is veggie scraps (the colorful wet goopy stuff).

Clear as Compost?

You are encouraged to comment on any advice that I missed or stories you have had with composting. Contact me or comment with questions and how it all goes for you. Thanks!

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