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Can I Compost Meat?

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  • Tip Bones

Technically, yes!

There's a lot of composting information that will tell you that you cannot, under any circumstances, put meat or fish scraps in your homemade compost pile. While they are correct that meat isn't exactly IDEAL compost material, that doesnt mean you should toss out any meat scraps you have. You just have to be a little more careful about how you use it.

Ideally, your compost should be plant matter. Leaves, vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings, that sort of thing. You want a good mix of brown and green matter for the perfect compost, and enough nitrogen sources to make awesome fertilizer. I maintain that this is still true, but you can add meat if you're running out of compostable items.

The problem with composting meat is that... well, it smells. To us humans, it smells pretty awful when it rots, and that's all composting really is. However, that rancid smell is a siren song to any number of pests, including rats, mice, raccoons, feral cats, stray dogs, bears, and pretty much any animal you wouldn't want digging in your yard! It also attracts a lot of bothersome-- and even harmful-- insects. So how should you use meat in compost?

In a word: sparingly. I'd say for every ounce of meat you use, you should have a pound of more traditional compost material. Not only do you not want bugs and critters or a bad smell, but you also want the material to compost as quickly as possible. Meat definitely won't break down as fast as leftover salad. To use meat scraps, cut them into very small pieces, and ideally add them along with plant matter. Make sure to bury the material far enough to discourage curious animals, and don't forget to turn the compost regularly!

When in doubt, don't use meat. But if you must, just be mindful!

Photo: Pixabay