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Can meat go into compost?

Asked by Northcliff, Last updated: Jan 04, 2020

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Adam O' Brien

Adam O' Brien

Answered Oct 25, 2017

If you’ve been composting for a while, you’ve likely heard the drill about placing meat and bones in the pile: it will attract many unwanted scavengers and pests and it will make the entire heap stink. Most other organic scraps don’t cause these issues because the type of organisms that thrive on breaking down vegetables, coffee grounds, yard waste, and the like, are aerobic and require plenty of oxygen to do the work of creating humus soil. Whether raw or cooked, meat and animal carcasses decompose with the help of anaerobic organisms that reproduce in airless environments.

This lack of oxygen is what causes a compost pile to reek of rotten eggs or sour milk, creating an enticing aroma for rodents, raccoons, skunks, and flies. While an open-air compost heap will provide no defense against pests and odors, there are other options for disposing of meat and bones in an earth-friendly way. One is to use a trench composting system for meat scraps. Another is to use an enclosed anaerobic system, like Bokashi bins, to quickly break down meats in a way that won’t cause a stink and is completely inaccessible to insects and scavengers.

 

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