Composting to Save Money

A long time ago, I was introduced to composting by an elderly man who lived across the street. He was a man up there in years, never short of stories to which I lent him an eager ear. As a young boy, he lived through the Second World War and perhaps it was that upbringing that accounts for his knack to be self sufficient. More likely, the older generation was more adept with their hands not necessarily because they wanted to; it was simply because that was the way things got done during their time. And you know what? Sometimes, old school methods are really worth looking into.

My friend Bob, who was plenty old enough to be my grandfather, had a compost pit built right into his yard. Compost is what you get when you combine food waste and other organic waste and allow it to decompose. The aerobic decomposition turns all that waste into rich soil, which you can then use for gardening as a soil conditioner, fertilizer or natural pesticide.

Mind you, Bob’s property is probably ten times the size of mine. A quick google satellite image pretty much confirms this. Given that Bob’s family settled the hillside during a time when population density wasn’t a concern, they were able to secure a fair chunk of real estate that today would be prohibitively costly. Ok, back to his property: he has enough space to house a compost pit that is accessible through a side exit leading from the kitchen. Most homeowners today would probably have a garage in lieu of that compost pit.

Portable Compost Pail

So, what’s a guy with a more modest sized home to do? Well, go get a portable compost pail, of course! Look, I figured that since I actually grow some of my own herbs and vegetables, and I do throw away quite a bit of food waste, why not try a portable compost pail? For a small investment, I can have a cool looking compost pail like the one above.

These things are functional, cool looking and hey, they also help you exude eco friendliness, which does come in handy with some of the ladies, sometimes. But seriously, when I stopped to think about it, owning one of these makes sense. First, I pay for rich soil and fertilizer. And those things are not exactly free. Second, I throw away my food and organic waste, so instead of tossing it in the trash, I could divert them to the compost pail with no additional effort. Finally, I tend to derive some sense of satisfaction from things I organically grow on my own. Like my herb garden. A compost should give me some satisfaction, while costing me practically nothing once I’ve gone out to get that compost pail.

Kitchen Compost Pail

My initial thoughts on compost pails is that they're just some gussied up plastic or metal canister, so why can’t I just go and get some cheap bucket with a lid from a thrift store, and call that a compost pail? Well, I immediately nixed that idea once I reminded myself of the composting process; specifically, the rather undesirable odor that accompanies decomposition. Who wants that smell lingering around the kitchen? A commercial Kitchen Compost Pail eliminates this possibility by implementing a carbon filter designed to trap that odiferous symphony. And it does so while looking sheik on your countertop, or the floor, or wherever it is that you want to position your eco friendly, conversation starter, soil maker.

One final thought on compost pails: if you’re considering one, you may want to pay attention to the materials used to construct the pail. Plastic and wood may retain odor in the long run. Compost pails made from ceramic, metal or stainless steel may be better materials as far as odor resistance goes, although the latter may cost just a little bit more.

Here are some additional compost pails that I considered when I was selecting my kitchen compost pail:

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