Frequently Asked Questions
What can and cannot be composted?
Composting is very easy! Basically, any food items can be composted, including bread. Shredded paper, napkins, and tissues can also be put in the compost bin.
The composter cannot digest glass, metal, Styrofoam and non-compostable plastics.
Please consult the guide below. This guide has also been attached to each compost bin.
Where can I dispose of my compostable waste material?
Dozens of green bins have been placed in and around buildings all over campus. You will find them in the cafeteria, the library, the forestry building, inside each residence and chalet, outside the chalets and outside the Recplex building, to name just a few areas. You can find a map here: http://www.grenfell.mun.ca/compost
Why does the composter smell? I thought compost wasn’t supposed to have an odor.
Our industrial composter is an amazing piece of equipment. It can make compost in 30 days. Other composting processes can take anywhere from 3 months to a year.
The composter turns automatically several times a day. When it turns, a large amount of steam and heat is released along with the smell of partially composted waste that is in the process of thermophillic (hot) biodegradation. If you happen to be nearby when this occurs, you will notice an odor around the unit.
Different types of waste can impact the smell of the compost. Sometimes we get larger amounts of cooked food with sauces, oils and fats. As these products break down through our accelerated process they can emit a rancid smell. This is temporary.
Other factors include seasonal changes, daily weather conditions and outside temperature.
All of these factors change on a continual basis and we adjust to these conditions accordingly.
Why does it say that you cannot put rotten food into the compost bins? Isn’t that what the composter does with it anyway?
Large amounts of rotten material in the composter will change the pH and moisture, killing off the ‘good’ aerobic bacteria and will cause a wet, sloppy, stinky mess that will stop the composting process. In order to maintain the proper carbon: nitrogen balance, please avoid throwing rotting food into the bins whenever possible.
Tossing in an apple with some bruises, expired lettuce or a brown banana every now and then won’t have a huge impact on the composter. However, food that has already begun decomposing is soft, wet and acidic. The anaerobic or ‘bad’ bacteria have started breaking down the material. Too much rotten waste is too soggy and acidic, causing anaerobic processes to take over as a result.
The putrid smell emitted by the rotten waste will also attract rodents and scavengers to the area.