Composting Tip: Can I compost Beans?

We love to get reader questions. Laura asks us the following:

“hi, thanks. I wonder about beans….are they like meat? i cook beans for two and inevitably have left over, can i compost? will they attract rats etc I live in the city…up til now i only am using raw fruit and veggie and grass leaves ….thanks (ex: pea soup, no oil, lental soup etc no oil). thank you”

Great question, Laura. The answer is: beans should be fine for composting. Here’s some rules of thumb though: it’s a good idea to bury kitchen scraps and food further down the pile and then put the leaves/grass clippings over them. You might want to follow this tact when composting your beans as well. This will ensure that they will have less of a chance of being subject to rodents and pests.

All in all, you should be fine. Thanks for your question, and hope this helps!

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!