Composting Tip: Can I compost vegetables from canned goods?

As we often get questions related to composting (and some great ones at that, by the way…you guys are on top of your game) – we try and answer them as soon as we can. A question we got recently comes from Joanne, who asks:

“Can you compost a canned vegetable product if the can is bulged and air escapes when opened?”

Great question, Joanne! You sure can’t eat it…that’s for sure. However, let’s say you’ve got a dented or swollen can (something that you’d throw away and not eat) – yes, you can compost it! You might want to throw it in the center of the pile, as to avoid rodents or pests digging into your compost. Basically, once oxygen is involved, the anaerobic bacteria will die off and the aerobic microbes from the compost will break everything down, and you should be fine.

If you’re really worried about it, you could always trench compost it – which is basically digging a hole, dumping it in there, covering it up, and then leaving it.

In all honesty, you will be totally fine with everything. Thanks, and hope this helps. Happy Composting!

Composting Info: Paper Towels – Are they Compostable?

In this Video, Lars answers a question from Lynn, one of our readers, concerning paper towels and compost piles. Lynn asked us the following:

It would be very nice if you can add information about paper towels that are compostable. You mentioned that brown material is good for adding to your composting, would the commercial brown paper towels used in washrooms can be considered as brown material as well? I was told by an Environmental company that the paper towels are also used to be spread on landfill to prevent the smell.

Thanks for your question, Lynn! To clarify, when we say “brown material” we aren’t necessarily talking about the color, we are talking about carbon-rich material. To answer the question though…yes, you can definitely recycle and compost paper towels – be it white ones, or even recycled, brown paper towels that you sometimes see in an office washroom.

You don’t want to compost any paper towels that you’ve gotten wet with chemicals, because this can harm your compost. But if it’s just a normal paper towel that you’ve gotten wet at some point, you can totally use it with your compost, that’s no problem at all!

Thanks again for reading, and thanks for your question! Hope this is a big help!

Compost Advice: Trench Composting – An Explanation.

In the above video, Lars answers a question asked by another one of our readers, Heather. She asked us the following:

My husband’s grandmother had a beautiful vegetable garden. She just put leaves, newspaper, and vegetable scraps down the rows of her garden. She raked/tilled in under every few weeks. Is this a good idea?

Thanks for the question, Heather! Your husband’s grandmother is very wise – this is a legitimate method of composting – it’s known as trench composting, which is where you can dig a hole and place your organic materials in there. Cover it up, and it will break your materials down over time, and improve the quality of the soil. Famers have used this method of composting for hundreds, if not thousands of years…it’s a perfectly good way to compost.

So yes, it can be a great idea and has proven to work for years upon years. Thanks for your question and hope this helps!