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Indoor composter

Some automatic composters make black dirt in as little as two weeks.
photo courtesy of NatureMill

Compost is good for the garden, but it's not always convenient to tend a compost pile. Compost is good for the garden, but it's not always convenient to tend a compost pile. Carrie Donovan is the spokeswoman for NatureMill, a company that makes electric composters. She says most indoor compost units are about the size of a trash compactor, and speed up the process of breaking down food into compost.

"The way that it does that is it's a two-chamber system. On the top chamber, we call it the mixing chamber," says Donovan. "You put your food scraps in there, and there's actually a heating strip, there's an air pump, there is a carbon air filter, and then there's the mixing bar and the motor, of course. So pretty much every four-hours, the unit will mix for about 7- to 8 minutes."

Donovan says you can toss in about 120 lbs. of food waste per-month, and get fresh compost every two weeks.

With outdoor compost piles, it's not recommended to add meat and fat because of the risk of spoilage. These scraps also attract vermin. But with indoor units, just about any food scrap can go from the cutting board to the composter. Meat, cheese, you can put egg, eggshells, asparagus, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes, you can even put like, coffee grounds in there," says Donovan. "You can put tea in
there but not the plastic tea bag holder.  And then you can put grass clippings in there, you can put dried flowers in there."

Most units have a carbon air filter to get rid of odors, but if you notice sour smells, add sawdust pellets or baking soda. If you only throw in fruits and vegetables, you'll need to balance the system and add some brown materials such as bread, bran, or rice to help soak up the liquid. These methods help reduce odors and speed up processing in non-automatic indoor compost units, too, such as the Bokashi Compost Kits.

NatureMill offers three models of automatic indoor composters, ranging in price from $249 to $399.
A non-automatic unit, such as the Bokashi Compost Kit, starts at about $60.

Radio interview source: Carrie Donovan, Spokeswoman, NatureMill

Click here to listen to the radio mp3

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