Friday, May 10, 2013

Can You Compost Bread?


We’ve all been there. You pull out the fixings for your favorite sandwich, set a nice plate on the counter, and pour yourself a tall cold drink. Reaching into the bread bag you gently pull out two slices. But what’s this? Ugh….. your heart sinks with a pang of disappointment.

Mold lines the edge of your bread.

Well, you can’t save the sandwich now. Unless you’re the type to shrug, pull off the moldy crust, and keep eating (I’m making my silently-judgmental, grossed out face right now). But you can put that moldy bread to good use in your compost bin.

Bread, while not a vegetable, is made from a plant and will break down in your compost bin rather quickly. Pretty much any food scrap made of flour or grains can go in your bin. This includes:

Bread
Buns
Crackers
Donuts (without cream filling)
Cookies

I don’t think a single cookie has ever made it to my compost bin, even the burnt and stale end up being consumed. But technically, they could be composted.

And what’s the most important thing to remember about composting bread and the like? Bury your food scraps. I’ll say that again.

BURY YOUR FOOD SCRAPS!!!

Otherwise, you will end up attracting animals or creating a “garbagy” smelling bin.

Once in contact with a moist compost pile, bread doesn’t typically last long. Think of a hotdog eating contest without the dog. You know how the contestants dip the buns in water to easily cram down 20 hotdogs in 5 minutes? Now I’m making my grossed out face again.

That bun soaks up the moisture and starts breaking down immediately. The same thing happens in your compost pile. And then the micro and macro organisms alike devour the bun in what I can only imagine is a very competitive sport with millions of contestants and only you cheering them on.

Do you compost bread? If so, am I missing any “bread” categories that you can compost?


I think this croissant is upset about being tossed in the trash.
Or maybe he's just trying to lift his "arms"?


12 comments:

  1. I also compost my leftover pasta that got pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.

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    1. I do too! As long as there is not a creamy sauce pasta is fine to compost!

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  2. I generally throw my plain rice and pasta in the compost, too.

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    1. I've put rice in the compost as well.

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  3. I always put our bread scraps in the compost pile but I have wondered if there is any harm in putting it in if it is moldy. Is the mold harmful in any way? I have had the same question when I find moldy berries in the back of the fruit bin.

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    1. very good questions! Actually mold helps in the decomposition process so don't worry about it at all. It just means your bread and berries have started "composting" a little early. :)

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  4. This is not in the bread category but can all citris fruits and rinds be composted? Thanks And also where can I purchase a composter barrrel type that can be turned with a handle? I have back problems and need a more convenient way to turn my compost.

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    1. Yes, citrus fruits are great for composting but need to be buried just like any other food scrap. I know Park + Vine and Worm's Way both have tumbler type composters. You can also find them online. Search "Compost Tumbler."

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  5. I love my composter but when we have lots of rain alot of water gets in the bin and then it's a sloppy mess. What should I do or what should I add to get it back on track?

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    1. When your compost is too wet, add more dry stuff, like leaves or shredded paper. This has been a wet year. This will be the first week I will have to water my pile.

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  6. I just purchased a small double bin tumbling composter and am a little confused about what can and can't be composted. There are so many conflicting sites. Would old muffins with fruit in them be okay to compost? These were made with whole wheat flour (no sugar), blueberries and bananas. I think all this would be okay in the compost but they were cooked with oil, does that matter? I was also wondering about vegetables cooked in EVOO, does the oil make them not a good idea to put in there because it would attract bugs?

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    1. Old muffins should be fine to compost as oil is baked in, but vegetables in olive oil is not a good idea. The reason why is the oil may actually smother the micro-organisms at work and as worms breath through their skin, they too could smoother from a bunch of oil. However, as in most things in life, a little bit won't hurt.

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