The EPA does not recommend composting meat. However, there are some home composting solutions that make it possible.
Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of food waste you produce. When you compost, you take food scraps from your meals and use them to create a nutritious growing medium for plants. Compost keeps food waste out of landfills and reduces methane emissions. Compost can often replace chemical fertilizers and is great for water retention in soil. But if you use traditional compost methods, there’s a very good chance that you won’t be able to compost all of your leftover cooked food and food scraps.
Are you wondering what other kitchen and household items can be composted? You can find a comprehensive list of 100 + compostable items here.
Can You Compost Meat?
No, at least according to the EPA. While meat is organic material that can decompose over time, and meat does have many nutrients that can be highly beneficial to add to the soil, meat does not do well in compost.
Problems With Composting Meat
While meat, being an organic material, will decompose over time, there are some very good reasons not to put it in your compost pile.
Nobody likes the odor of rotting meat and composting cooked foods. If you add meat to your compost pile, its distinctive stink will make the pile’s aroma highly unpleasant. This could lead to some very upset neighbors and could attract the wrong sort of attention from your local wildlife… or even your dog. Who wants to deal with a stinky compost pile that’s been dug up by animals? Nobody.
One major concern about putting meat in your compost bin is that it can attract pests. Rats, raccoons, and other mammals are very attracted to the smell of meat and will begin to frequent your compost pile. Rats, in particular, enjoy compost as a place to nest, and even if you like rats, having them in your compost pile can be a major health concern. It’s also not healthy or safe for the animals when wildlife learn to associate compost piles with food.
Meat is high in protein and fat, both of which take longer to decompose than the simpler carbohydrate structures in plant and yard waste. Adding meat to your compost increases the time it takes to fully decompose and means that you must pay significantly more attention to the pile and its output.
This is the greatest risk when composting meat scraps. While cooked meat is unlikely to cause this problem, raw meat can be contaminated with a number of bacteria that will thrive in the warm, humid environment of a compost heap. These include E. coli, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Listeria bacteria, all of which are harmful to humans.
Other Animal Products
In addition to meat, other animal products should not be used in traditional compost for various health and safety reasons. Because dairy products are also high in fat and protein, they have similar issues with decomposition. Additionally, dairy products also lead to strong smells and animal attraction.
It's not easy to compost egg shells using traditional compost methods. Egg shells are extremely stable and do not break down well with microbial action alone. While egg shells are notably high in calcium and can be extremely beneficial to include in your soil, these require additional preparation via drying and crushing to use in regular compost.
Meat bones are another item that cannot be composted. Bones are simply too dense, especially beef and pork bones. These can take hundreds of years to decompose if left buried, and for large bones there’s just not enough microbial penetration in the traditional composting process for decomposition to occur. Bones are even more appealing to wildlife than meat due to their high nutrient content– animals are driven to chew bones for the minerals within, as well as the high-protein, high-fat marrow.
Composting Meat With Lomi
If you do eat meat and want to compost meat scraps, fortunately there are safe ways to do so. Some cities, like Minneapolis and San Francisco, have commercial composting facilities as a public utility. These facilities get hot enough to safely process meat. But even if you don’t live in a city with public composting facilities, you can still compost meat scraps with a high-tech, countertop composting system like Lomi from Pela.
Unlike traditional compost, Lomi’s fast action doesn’t give meat scraps and other animal products the time to start rotting. Instead, Lomi’s grinders fragment your food waste, while heat and oxygen encourage water reduction and decomposition. Because the process is accelerated and entirely self-contained, meat and all other animal products (except for large bones) can be processed in Lomi.
Lomi’s end product is not just dehydrated food waste- it is a high quality nutrient-rich dirt that's a great addition to the soil in your garden. Depending on the mode, Lomi can produce the nutrient-dense soil amendment in about twenty hours in its Grow mode. Lomi is a true home composter designed for eco-friendly sustainability and the demands and needs of your lifestyle.