Quick Tip

I’ve learned that if I put a sheet or two of our otherwise useless weekly newspaper at the bottom of my counter-top scrap pail, dumping it out becomes much less gross. No more fuzzy, slimy things stuck to the bottom. Why did it take me so longer to figure this out?

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  1. I do the same with cardboard since I work with it and am up to my eyeballs in scraps all the time – it’s super absorbent for wet scraps.

  2. Years ago before there were plastic trash can bags (or the restaurant was cutting cost – not sure which), I worked as a dishwasher/cook helper. I was 17 and lied about my age because you had to be 18 to work. A few weeks later they learned of it and fired me. But one thing I learned was to line the trash cans with newspaper. However, I have totally forgotten how it was done. It was pretty nifty though because it was done in such a fashion that you could dump the trash and the newspaper liner was all woven together sorta so it always remained intact. Your post reminded me of that.

  3. What I do for scraps is put a dog waste picker-upper bag in a canister, which has a locking lid. The bags they give out in the parks are just the right size. They’re theoretically compostable, but I think it requires a higher temperature compost than I can count on in my bin, so I re-use the bags if they aren’t too disgusting and put them in the trash if they are.

  4. I have a problem with my compost drying out (it is drought in Texas, EVERYTHING is drying out) so I will usually fill the kitchen compost bucket up with water before I dump it in the compost bin. This helps with a lot of the debris.

  5. Good idea!!! I have a smallish red plastic Folgers can with a lid I keep on my dryer next to the back door~ all coffee grounds and banana and potato peels go in it. It is SO Gross!!! I’m going to scrub iit out tonight and line it~~ Thank You!
    All my other kitchen scraps (except chicken) go to the chickens~ they’re a greedy lot and I struggle to keep them in ‘snacks’ of a quantity up to their standards!!!
    Fresh scraps in = fresh eggs out!

  6. When I was growing up, we used paper grocery bags for trash. Mama always lined them with paper to be more absorbent. Even when I grew up and married, I used paper grocery bags that fit just right in the kitchen trash container. Those were lined with newspaper. When the bags did not flow into the house magically because there were plastic trash bags, I still lined the plastic trash bags so if there was a minor failuer AND too much liquid something or oozing, the bag still would not leak. What will we do when/if newspapers are no longer readily available?

  7. How could I have not thought of that? I ended up with 2 scrap buckets, when the one became to gross and frankly scary to keep indoors. Live and learn.

  8. I use the A4 sized brown paper bags that my veggies come in. And the paper compostable takeaway container that my favourite restaurant uses (totally an excuse to eat there a little more often!)

  9. I started doing something similar to this a month or two ago. I’ve been using pelleted sawdust horse bedding to bulk compost, because it’s cheap and works well for our tumbler. I had the “duh” moment and thought to put it on the bottom to absorb moisture, make it easier to keep the compost pot clean, _and_ make sure that people were adding the correct proportion of sawdust! Great minds think alike!

  10. It never occurred to me to do this! I’ll start as soon as the weather warms up.
    I keep an old 5 gallon bucket outside the back door to dump compostable stuff into. The problem during the winter is that everything freezes into a large mass that adheres to the sides of the bucket. We tried bringing the bucket inside the night before we needed to empty it so it could defrost, but determined that it was much too stinky to tolerate. Now I heat up a pot of water (not boiling) and carefully pour the hot water around the edges between the compost and the side of the bucket and then give it a little time to defrost a bit. It’s much easier to dump the thing into the compost pile. Lining the bucket with newspaper during the cold weather would probably result in frozen newspaper stuck to the side of the bucket along with the compost.
    As much as I enjoy winter, some things are just easier during the warm weather.

  11. When we aren’t cooking for big groups, I skip the compost bucket all together. I just use a dirty dish to collect scraps and then give them to the rabbits or chickens. Or, in the case of coffee, I throw it in our compost pile.

  12. I use a goodly handful of shredded paper on the bottom of the pail, and when I’m really keen I put a layer of shredded paper in every so often. The pail doesn’t end up quite as clean as it would if lined with paper, but the shredded stuff is super absorbent and breaks down quickly in the pile. The only problem is that I run out of shredded paper fairly regularly…

  13. My parents and grandparents used to do this all the time for all trash since they didn’t have plastic bags in the soviet block or they were very hard to get. Unintentionally sparing earth of the plastic waste. Now everyone’s stuffing landfills full of plastic bags that take ages to degrade. Boggles the mind to think how much waste we’ve dumped in the last 50 years compared to the rest of eternity.

  14. I get a thick quarterly report on my retirement account from a corporate job I quit last year. The pages are wafer thin and wonderfully absorbent. Wasn’t long before I figured a great way to use them. Yes, you guessed it:)

  15. I actually cut the top off a gallon milk jug so the handle is still intact, but there’s a bigger opening at the top, and keep that in my freezer. I throw all my compost bits in there and just dump the frozen clump into the pit every few days. It keeps all the stink and slime out of my kitchen and pops right out into the pit without any effort.

  16. We have been lining our compost container since you posted this quick tip and we appreciate the idea so much. Such a small thing that makes life just a little easier. Thank you. Love your blog.

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