City Composting Program

We participate in the City of Minneapolis pilot food composting program. Because we have our own compost bins outside and a worm bin inside, we don’t produce a lot of food waste for the city, but we really have appreciated the ability to compost bones, chicken carcasses, spoiled yogurt, meat skin and food packaging. And when our compost bins are full, which can happen if I’ve had a busy week weeding in the garden or processing veggies, we do wind up giving the city our excess food waste.

In the summer, however, we can run into a problem, which we noted yesterday as we prepared for garbage pickup. The city only picks up compost once a week. That is not often enough in the summer. It can result in smells and small flies. Solutions we and others have tried:

    Bringing it outside before pick-up day: When I’ve had too much compost, or it’s been too smelly, I’ve sometimes had to bring out a bag well before pick-up day. Unfortunately, the heat outside makes the smell so much worse. I actually worried my neighbors might complain.
    Cooling/freezing: I try to throw away spoiled food from the fridge only every other week, right before pickup, so it’s not smelling up the indoor compost bin. That often means leaving spoiled food in the fridge, taking up limited fridge space. A friend told me he puts his compost in the freezer between pick-ups. For us, freezer space is even more limited.
    Containing: We use a medium-sized garbage can with easy lifting lid for most of our compost, and a small metal compost tin for the worm food. The smaller tin does a better job of keeping insects out of the kitchen, but its too small for meaningful composting. We need an effective larger compost bin.

The city hasn’t asked for feedback from residents on the composting program. I wish they would. I wish they would brainstorm with us ways we can better handle compost before pick-up.