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Non-stinky compost bucket

 
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We live in an old country house and so until we can afford to go over every square inch of the place with anti-rodent measures we are going to be porous to mice. I've noticed a major uptick in mouse sightings in our kitchen since we started composting. I suspect it's the bucket of compost scraps attracting the little blighters. We have just a simple metal pail with lid like you get for $10 at a hardware store. Not a good, airtight seal. Anyone have recommendations for a compost pail that:
1. Has a good deal
2. Doesn't smell or seem to attract mice
3. Is 100% plastic-free and gick-free?

And I realize there are other methods than composting, but I want to stick with compost for the time being, thank you.
 
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Did you start to compost recently? I would expect the time of year rather than any smells to be responsible for an increase in mice. Unless they can get into the bucket I doubt that is the reason they are there.
 
D.W. Stratton
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Skandi Rogers wrote:Did you start to compost recently? I would expect the time of year rather than any smells to be responsible for an increase in mice. Unless they can get into the bucket I doubt that is the reason they are there.



About two months ago. I'm sure time of year has something to do with it too, but I want to eliminate as many other variables as I can since I can't control the weather!
 
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This is the first place we've lived that has not had at least occasional mice so our compost bucket method might not work for you.  

Ours is a small two gallon (sorry, it's plastic, the other info might help though) bucket that we never put a lid on because that seems to cause it to smell quickly.  

We dump every other day or so depending on the amount of scraps we're producing and they are all vegetable and fruit bits....never meat and rarely even cooked things or liquids.

We have several of these buckets for various outdoor things so rotate the kitchen one often.

It was banana peels that caused us to quit lidding the kitchen compost bucket...the worst smell ever!

If the bucket you have is galvanized, I seem to remember that it has it's own smell when reacting with liquids? The choice between galvanized and plastic might be a toss up?  



 
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Skandi Rogers wrote:Did you start to compost recently? I would expect the time of year rather than any smells to be responsible for an increase in mice. Unless they can get into the bucket I doubt that is the reason they are there.


This is my thought as well.
I would try securing the bucket as best you can (brick on the lid? In the fridge? Empty at night and wash before bed?) and see if you can note the response. I've lived in a lot of mousy old houses and generally there are better places for them to seek food (the-gold-mine-of-crap-under-the-stove, drawers with spilled flour, pet food bowl, bird seed storage, etc) and the compost bucket may just happen to be on the route. Then you can think about traps, etc. I do have mice go after my compost in the garden, but in the house there is so much more in terms of easy pickings that they can't even be bothered.
I would love to have a metal bucket with a metal lid (here everything is plastic) so if I were you I would try to find a way to make your current system work. If the smell is really bothering you you might be able to rig up the lid to close tighter with a waxed cloth between the lid and bucket, for example, or maybe adding some sort of rubber gasket to the lid with an old bike inner tube, etc.
 
D.W. Stratton
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Tereza Okava wrote:

Skandi Rogers wrote:Did you start to compost recently? I would expect the time of year rather than any smells to be responsible for an increase in mice. Unless they can get into the bucket I doubt that is the reason they are there.


This is my thought as well.
I would try securing the bucket as best you can (brick on the lid? In the fridge? Empty at night and wash before bed?) and see if you can note the response. I've lived in a lot of mousy old houses and generally there are better places for them to seek food (the-gold-mine-of-crap-under-the-stove, drawers with spilled flour, pet food bowl, bird seed storage, etc) and the compost bucket may just happen to be on the route. Then you can think about traps, etc. I do have mice go after my compost in the garden, but in the house there is so much more in terms of easy pickings that they can't even be bothered.
I would love to have a metal bucket with a metal lid (here everything is plastic) so if I were you I would try to find a way to make your current system work. If the smell is really bothering you you might be able to rig up the lid to close tighter with a waxed cloth between the lid and bucket, for example, or maybe adding some sort of rubber gasket to the lid with an old bike inner tube, etc.



No traps. We don't think it is right to kill a mouse simply for being a mouse and doing what mice do. Can't say more than that because it gets controversial, but we are a no-kill house. Even live traps kill mice because relocating an animal far away and outdoors in the winter when it doesn't know where food and water can be gotten is a death sentence, besides which studies indicate it actually increases the local mouse population, defeating the purpose.

So I'm specifically asking for compost pail recommendations and *only* compost pail recommendations. If we could please stick to that, that would be far more productive and meaningful, pretty please. I realize folks mean well, but tangential commentary is unhelpful.
 
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From past experience this is the time of year when mice come inside, as has been said above. We get one or two a week at the moment in our traps, but none through the summer. We had a population explosion last winter, and we belatedly discovered that the mice had eaten a hole in the sack of dog food and were scurrying back and forward carrying food back under the floorboard.  Moving the dogfood to a metal bin resolved that part of the problem, and combined with catching a few hundred mice over the next month or so we got on top of it.

Smell of compost alone won't sustain a mouse population. Look for other things they might be getting into and eating. They can chew through a surprisingly thick piece of plastic if there is food on the other side.

I recommend these mouse traps. They work great, nice clean kills and are really easy to bait and set. A blob of peanut butter is enough.

Sure Stop Mouse Trap
 
Michael Cox
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One last thing on the compost itself.

Smell is caused by time. If your compost bucket in the kitchen sits for more than 24 hours or so it will get stinky. The cure is not a lid, or better bucket. It's emptying it every day and cleaning it.

My parents have the old "big compost bin hidden under the counter" arrangement. It is always disgusting and stink. It gets emptied once per week, and because it is under the counter it is hard to clean the bin and surrounds. Bits miss the bin, stuff splashes and the whole area gets contaminated with stink.

In our kitchen we have smaller open top bowl  (think small salad serving bowl). One day of kitchen scraps is enough to fill it. If we do more cooking we fill two of them. In the morning the bowl is emptied (compost heap in the chicken run) and the bowl itself goes through the dishwasher. Nothing ever sits around long enough to get stinky, attract flies etc...
 
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How often are you emptying the compost bucket?  As I understand it, they are for holding the compostable materials until you can dump it on a compost pile outside.  I empty mine every day or two and it doesn't get stinky.  It has a perforated lid so it's definitely not air tight.  At Wheaton Labs they use 3 gallon buckets (no lids) and if they get stinky they sprinkle sawdust over the pile.  They also start with a thin bed of sawdust at the bottom of the bucket to soak up juices.
 
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Far from 100% plastic free - but we often use old coffee cans for composting. At least they are reused items, and they are designed to keep odours in.  The metal ones with the plastic lids might be your best bet for lower plastic, but I think the folgers plastic ones work better.

Alternatively, a screw top gallon glass jar might work. Hard to have a good seal without some sort of plastic compound, so there would still be plastic in the lid.

When I've had fruit fly issues, I keep my compost bin in the fridge. I would probably do something similar if I had mice issues.

In addition - this season is PRIME mouse season. They are looking for a nice warm place to live for the winter, and tend to move and travel more. I recommend cleaning under/behind your fridge and stove if you haven't recently. You'd be amazed how much food gets kicked there, and it's a mouse heaven.
 
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Stainless steel with holes in the lid so the compost can breathe and CHANGEABLE charcoal filters in the lid.  Emptied and rinsed (I use rainbutt water) AT LEAST once a day (full or not) and you only have to clean it and change the filters twice a year.  Emptied every other day or neglect to rinse it each time, and it needs cleaning with bleach AT LEAST once a month.  

We have one like this.



IF the lid is properly closed, and the bin properly maintained, there is no smell - I'm hypersensitive to smell (Hyperosmia due to health issues), so smells (not just bad ones) make me vomit instantly.  So I can say with strong conviction that, if the human element is functioning correctly (emptying the bin AT LEAST ONCE A DAY), then this is the most awesome solution to kitchen counter compost EVER!  If I can't smell it, then a rat cannot smell it.

The advantage of Stainless Steel is that it won't absorb the stink into the bin and can be cleaned.  

If the lid seals, then it quickly begins anaerobic decomposition which is nasty.  We don't want this unless we are using bokashi composting - which is a whole different topic.

Compost is made of dyeing things.  We can choose which process they decay.  Aerobic bacteria and yeast (air loving invisible beasties) produce less smell in this situation.  So having breathing holes for the compost actually reduces the stink.  

The stinky charcoal filters can be boiled for a second use, but they don't last as long the second time.  

We can pour baking soda in the bin, but this doesn't reduce the stink, merely traps it and concentrates it.  Not sure a mouse wouldn't smell this.

Something we did in the apartment when we couldn't get to the garden very often was to have a breathable compost bin in the kitchen and at least ONCE A DAY, we would empty it into a stinky, 5-gallon bin with a tight-fitting lid on the balcony.  When we had a few of these full, we would take them to the garden.  This was great because it kept the stink away from the living space (Rats are a big thing in the city) and started a bokashi style decomposition before it got to the garden.  We trenched it in the garden and it was completely gone in about 2 weeks.  


Mice:
It's good that you are working on seeling up the house for the mice issue.

In my dreadful experience with mice, the compost wasn't their favourite thing.  They loved sugar and starchy foods and would chew through plastic bags, plastic bins, and even metal bins to get to it.  They also carry some pretty nasty illnesses (many spread through touch or ingesting mouse urine) that can cause permanent damage to a human, so it's good to be careful.  We ended up getting rid of most of our food or putting it in the freezer, glass, or ceramic jars until we could get rid of the mice.  

But the compost bin is a good place to start, especially if it's an opportunity to train your household to empty it frequently.  
 
D.W. Stratton
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r ranson wrote:Stainless steel with holes in the lid so the compost can breathe and CHANGEABLE charcoal filters in the lid.  Emptied and rinsed (I use rainbutt water) AT LEAST once a day (full or not) and you only have to clean it and change the filters twice a year.  Emptied every other day or neglect to rinse it each time, and it needs cleaning with bleach AT LEAST once a month.  

We have one like this.



IF the lid is properly closed, and the bin properly maintained, there is no smell - I'm hypersensitive to smell (Hyperosmia due to health issues), so smells (not just bad ones) make me vomit instantly.  So I can say with strong conviction that, if the human element is functioning correctly (emptying the bin AT LEAST ONCE A DAY), then this is the most awesome solution to kitchen counter compost EVER!  If I can't smell it, then a rat cannot smell it.

The advantage of Stainless Steel is that it won't absorb the stink into the bin and can be cleaned.  

If the lid seals, then it quickly begins anaerobic decomposition which is nasty.  We don't want this unless we are using bokashi composting - which is a whole different topic.

Compost is made of dyeing things.  We can choose which process they decay.  Aerobic bacteria and yeast (air loving invisible beasties) produce less smell in this situation.  So having breathing holes for the compost actually reduces the stink.  

The stinky charcoal filters can be boiled for a second use, but they don't last as long the second time.  

We can pour baking soda in the bin, but this doesn't reduce the stink, merely traps it and concentrates it.  Not sure a mouse wouldn't smell this.

Something we did in the apartment when we couldn't get to the garden very often was to have a breathable compost bin in the kitchen and at least ONCE A DAY, we would empty it into a stinky, 5-gallon bin with a tight-fitting lid on the balcony.  When we had a few of these full, we would take them to the garden.  This was great because it kept the stink away from the living space (Rats are a big thing in the city) and started a bokashi style decomposition before it got to the garden.  We trenched it in the garden and it was completely gone in about 2 weeks.  


Mice:
It's good that you are working on seeling up the house for the mice issue.

In my dreadful experience with mice, the compost wasn't their favourite thing.  They loved sugar and starchy foods and would chew through plastic bags, plastic bins, and even metal bins to get to it.  They also carry some pretty nasty illnesses (many spread through touch or ingesting mouse urine) that can cause permanent damage to a human, so it's good to be careful.  We ended up getting rid of most of our food or putting it in the freezer, glass, or ceramic jars until we could get rid of the mice.  

But the compost bin is a good place to start, especially if it's an opportunity to train your household to empty it frequently.  



Alright, getting warmer. Problem is, do those activated charcoal filters have plastic in them? Are they biodegradable? Compostable? Charcoal isn't bad, it will just break down and be reabsorbed by something in nature. I'm concerned about what the charcoal is contained inside of. In your experience are these plastic baggies of some kind? If it is plastic, is it at least recyclable? I find that most often flexible plastic containers are not recyclable so it's immediately a landfill additive. Sooner or later (hint: it's sooner), the landfills will fill up and then we are all boned fish.
 
r ranson
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The filters are made from charcoal - carbonized organic matter.  At least the ones I get.  I can't see the benefit of adding plastic to them, that would basically do the opposit when it comes to smell control.  

They take about 5 months to dissolve in the garden when treanched with other compost.  I don't know how they decompose in heat or bin composting yet.  
 
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I concur with what most other people have said - mice are after somewhere cozy for the winter more than the compost, so if I was in your shoes I'd be concentrating on mouse-proofing, not an air-tight compost bucket. Plus emptying it and washing it every day.

This is my kitchen compost caddy, full and with the lid removed.



It's an old enamel pan we found in the house when we bought it, complete with an aluminium lid that also happened to be here.

We don't empty it daily, but when it's full enough I use the contents for composting in place.

This is my perennial cabbage (galega) bed, which is mulched. I'll put the compost there before it starts to smell.



I scrape the grass mulch away, put the compost bucket contents down, then re-cover with the original mulch.



After emptying, I wash it out. Or at least a good rinse with a bit of help from a suitable brush for any bits that stick.



After washing I usually put it upside-down to drain and dry. One of the things I love about this old pan is that at some point the bottom of it must have worn out and has been replaced. I love the way the locals get the most possible use out of their precious tools and equipment. This one has obviously been part of the history here for so long I couldn't bear to get rid of it and found it's been a most satisfactory compost bucket.



But seriously, I'd concentrate on washing it out daily and mouse-proofing the house to stop them getting in.


 
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D.W. Stratton wrote:

Alright, getting warmer. Problem is, do those activated charcoal filters have plastic in them? Are they biodegradable? Compostable? Charcoal isn't bad, it will just break down and be reabsorbed by something in nature.



My sister has used one of those stainless steel ones with holes in the lid pictured above. She doesn't seem to have used the charcoal filter for years; when I visit there's usually a paper towel folded in the top under the holes. It doesn't smell much because it's stainless steel and I guess she cleans it often enough. Mice can't get in, for sure.
 
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I'm going to pile on with all the other sages here...

Empty and clean the bucket frequently. I'm a "but it isn't full yet... see, I squished it down, there's another day, at least" kind of person. I am also pretty tolerant of odors. (also oblivious, as women tend to have more acute sense of smell than men) My partner is "OMG! You don't smell that!!". every. single. day. "You're gonna need a smaller bucket." (Opposite of Roy Scheider about the boat in "Jaws")
It really doesn't matter at that point what you have (old pots, milk/juice cartons, metal garbage can) if it gets dealt with promptly. The flip side of the compost bucket is the compost pile/bin... and where it is, that makes "promptly" happen promptly. Ask me how I know that 120 yards away is a bit far during inclement weather...

The mouse problem is mainly about the shelter for the winter, and exacerbated by access to food. Don't feed the mice, store your food/pet food properly (glass jars, metal cans, tightly closing cabinets.) Set traps to reduce their numbers and to know where they are..., find and close entrances, and also pathways within your house to limit their travel options (plumbing/wiring holes between rooms/cellar/attic are often bigger than they need to be.)
 
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I trend to agree with others that this is a "mouse" issue more than a "compost bucket" issue. Our mouse and rat issues were reduced considerably when a pair of Great Horned Owls moved in, nested, and then had to feed a pair of adorable young owlets. Possibly looking at nesting requirements for indigenous owls in your area, might help provide a long-term solution. Even if you're more urban than rural, owls and other raptors are learning to co-exist with humans. My sisters have hawks and they are in a small city in Ontario which is totally surrounded by major urban areas. Providing urban nesting areas for these birds is critical to their long-term survival as our wild areas are reduced.
 
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I tried a number of times years ago with a lidded container.  Problem was, at the moment I needed to put a bunch of scraps and other compostables into the container, I needed a third hand (and sometimes a fourth, depending on how tightly the lid held) to remove the lid.  A clean hand.  Which I never had.

Eventually I chose a 'salad bowl', like what Michael Cox mentioned a few posts above this.  Works fine.  Only two hands required.  No smell, as I empty the thing a few times a week.  Occasional fruitfly infestation though, but that doesn't bother me.

 
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I keep a large unlidded bucket under the sink and only empty it once a week.  Every time I dump it out I add about 2 inches of biochar to the bottom.  The biochar gets emptied into the compost pile along with the kitchen scraps.  I might wash that bucket once a year...maybe (don't judge me...it's working!).  It never ends up smelling.  As Mike mentioned, sawdust is another good option.  I guess if I had mice I might put a lid on with holes in it, but that's just never been an issue so it's just easier for me to not have a lid.
 
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In the summer we keep our bin in the freezer. Solves all problems: rodent, fruit flies; and when put out there is no smell to attract bear raccoon etc. Perhaps relocating it to the freezer and pulling it out when needed would eliminate the need to source a new container?

As to the rodents, I admire your no kill and understanding of the often lethal implication of live trap/release. BUT hanta virus IS serious and potentially deadly to humans.  Perhaps contact the nearest wildlife center and see what sort of rodent eating creatures may be seeking a nice release site - although the mice may die, they would be providing sustenance for another creature.
 
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mouse-proofing the house--I've managed to make peace with hardware cloth as a transitional tool, after really loathing it for a long while.

mint--supposedly the smell of mint is a deterrent to mice, so mint essential oil in winter, and planting some mint around the perimeter of the house for the rest of the year.  And have some plants in the house too year-round.  Keeping it all in pots is probably a good idea to keep it from taking over the country.

At my spiritual community we used a mint/pepper spray, commercial grade, for all the cabins, it was fairly effective when applied once or twice a year.  I can't remember the brand name, but basically it was mint, ghost pepper, and some other essential oil.  It had a really industrial-sounding name but was all plant-derived ingredients.  It was sold in these big plastic containers, so you might just make your own from those ingredients if you want to be plastic-free.  For the short-term, essential oils are sold in most health-food stores with glass bottles and plastic lids.

Keep us posted on how it comes out!
 
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alas with mint, I have the wrong sort of rats and mice.  They love the mint patches and hang out there most of the summer and fall.  
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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One other thought just came to mind, I wonder about creating mouse habitat somewhere away from the house.  They look for warm places they can build nests in.  There's a lot of habitat-creation ideas in the Badge Bits in the Animal Care section (I think this link is right https://permies.com/f/405/pep-animal-care).  I don't remember one for mice specifically, but there may be ideas there that can be adapted for them.  If mouse house is more attractive to them than the human house they might go for it, who knows?  For nesting materials, they seem to prefer paper to most anything else.  Everything upcycles.   Maybe a less toxic alternative, bits of thrown-away natural cloths, hair, that sort of thing.  I don't see why they don't use more leaves, those would seem ideal.
 
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Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:One other thought just came to mind, I wonder about creating mouse habitat somewhere away from the house.  They look for warm places they can build nests in.


So ... are you essentially proposing a contract with the mice? Or an armistice? As in, "You can play out here, as long as you stay out here?" It's a noble thought. I confess I have not found rodents, of any variety, who can be trusted to respect such arrangements.

 
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I echo kill mice.  When it gets cold they will look for open houses.

I had mice in house in past, was luckily to find their entrance at a new trap door to crawl space gap between this new door and wall, just stuck a few sticks in, and stopped any new coming in., no more mice.

to trap them they tended to outsmart mice traps, but came up with them walking up a ramp to a bucket filled with about 4 inches of water.  Had a 2 liter bottle with both ends cut off, then used a coat hanger wire through the middle of the bottle, so that bottle could freely spin (two holes in plastic bucket to support this cut bottle over water.  Then put peanut butter inside the bottle on the 'roof'.

Caught all 2 of them this way.  heard a splash at night and saw a mouse swimming in circles.  Drowned by morning.

~ compost goes out almost daily, with ~no mice not as important.
 
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Have you considered having a cat?  A few mice may die along the way, but mostly the scent of the cat will keep them away.  One house I owned had a dreadful, dreadful mouse problem. My doctor also was concerned that the mice were bringing in disease, since I am immune compromised.  Traps, exterminators, even sealing the house didn't seem to work (the critters can get through unbelievably small spaces, including inside the walls along wiring and plumbing).  Anyway, we got a kitten, and that did the trick. A couple of casualties, and then peace and a much better-smelling house. (We had noticed a faint underlying nasty smell always present, but never connected it to the mice, until the mouse problem was gone.)  When the kitten was away for 24 hours or so getting neutered, the mice came scurrying back--yuck!!  But once the cat came back in the house, no more mice! 😁😁😁
 
Michael Moreken
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Emilie McVey wrote:Have you considered having a cat?  A few mice may die along the way, but mostly the scent of the cat will keep them away.  



I was ready to get a cat, but their waste is pretty toxic.  Yes they can squeeze there body through small areas!
 
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What about compostable trash bags? The ones I found are cornstarch based, I think. The listing says nothing about GMO, but if soil organisms are digesting it, is it still an issue anyway?
I am considering buying them to line a compost bin and also a dry toilet bucket, so I can just dump each bag, with all its contents, straight onto the compost heap, without touching anything nasty or having to wash bins so much. And whilst in the bag, I would still layer dry/cover material over anything wet to keep smell and flies down. If I had a compost receptacle on my kitchen counter, lined with said bag, I might even twist the top up in between deposits.
 
r ranson
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I've never been able to compost a compostable trash bag.  I've tried trenching, tumble composting, heat composting, and 6 years later the bags are still intact.  

I understand they need special industrial composting facilities to decompose.

If you find one that composts well in a home setting, let me know.

Or the old solution of wrapping in several layers of newspaper.  
 
Nikki Corey
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I haven’t purchased these yet, but the description contains this claim: “FORID compostable trash bags are made of 100% plant starch material (PSM),bioplastics based on natural renewable plant starch extracts,and can be composted in backyard or home composting facilities. In the case of composting, it is released as water, humus and CO2 within six months and returned to the ecosystem to complete the organic cycle.”

Compostable Trash Bags - FORID 8 Gallon Garbage Bags 150 Count Trash Can Liners 30 Liter Unscented Medium Wastebasket Bags for Kitchen Bathroom Home Office Garbage Can (5Rolls/Green) https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B085NLYBNK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_fabt1_xi-UFbDMC1H11?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Others I have looked at, I was disappointed to discover, are apparently made of some sort of oxy-enhanced plastic. So they break down faster, but still just into smaller bits of plastic. The ones I referenced above sound a lot better.
 
Nikki Corey
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The newspaper method might also help with the original poster’s stink problem.
 
r ranson
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If you try the bags, let us know how it composts.

 
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We re-use gallon ice-cream buckets - also not plastic-free, but reusing something and delaying its entry to the waste stream.  Even if you don't eat ice-cream from the pail, you can generally get them for free from friends/coworkers/the community at large.  One always sits on the counter beside the sink, and gets delivered to the chicken pen daily, but you could put it in the compost pile just as easily.  Another bucket is pulled out if we are doing a large volume of vegan materials that the goats can eat (for example, we cut up a bunch of stored apples for applesauce yesterday - all the "bad" parts went to the goats).  Buckets are washable, although we don't wash them often (only when they smell).  

We don't struggle with mice... but sometimes in the summer we get a fruit-fly issue.

Catie George wrote:Far from 100% plastic free - but we often use old coffee cans for composting. At least they are reused items, and they are designed to keep odours in.  The metal ones with the plastic lids might be your best bet for lower plastic, but I think the folgers plastic ones work better.

Alternatively, a screw top gallon glass jar might work. Hard to have a good seal without some sort of plastic compound, so there would still be plastic in the lid.

When I've had fruit fly issues, I keep my compost bin in the fridge. I would probably do something similar if I had mice issues.

In addition - this season is PRIME mouse season. They are looking for a nice warm place to live for the winter, and tend to move and travel more. I recommend cleaning under/behind your fridge and stove if you haven't recently. You'd be amazed how much food gets kicked there, and it's a mouse heaven.



 
Thomas Dean
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:One other thought just came to mind, I wonder about creating mouse habitat somewhere away from the house.  They look for warm places they can build nests in.


So ... are you essentially proposing a contract with the mice? Or an armistice? As in, "You can play out here, as long as you stay out here?" It's a noble thought. I confess I have not found rodents, of any variety, who can be trusted to respect such arrangements.



Seems like it's set up a refuge that, once population reaches carrying capacity, provides a constant source of mice to move into your house.  
 
Jay Angler
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Hubby really likes to buy oranges - some are good, but some tend to go moldy on him. He tends to cut a big chunk off around the mold and eat the rest, but that means he's dumping moldy stuff into the bucket. Our kitchen is on the second floor, so *remembering* to grab the compost last thing before going out is an issue. I remembered we had an old stainless compost bucket we stopped using because we found a smaller one. I fished it out and cleaned it up, and will solve the problem but rotating the two. That means the "clean" on has time to dry before being needed again and it means the "full" one I can put by my farm boots so I don't forget it, because the spare will be sitting ready for use. I'm *really* hoping this will simplify things. There's no good place right near the house for a compost and I worry that if I were to bury it in the two small gardens near the house it would attract things I don't want. I do walk by the nearest compost often enough, but half the time I've left the house before remembering to carry it down from the kitchen. Hopefully this new system will help.
 
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Add alcohol (booze), pickle juice, or something as you add in scraps.
I like to layer ... acid, bread, veg, acid
They could be coming in for warmth rather than food.
Make them habital places outside or get a terrier, cat, and snakes in the spring.
 
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We have had one like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FJNFN2J/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_gXNVFbB8FG9S0?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1. (Using amazon to ID, as I am not sure of exact brand. One can see similar and search to get a non-Amazon purchase option.) We have used it for 7 or so years and it works well and the filters make for a much larger margin for error on how frequently one empties and cleans. I rinse it out with a hose in the yard about every 3rd time I empty it. We replace the filters once in a blue moon (I've done it 2 or 3 times, but rinse them several times a year). The only pest issue we get is that the conditions inside are apparently hospitable for fruit fly eggs and larvae. So if there is some past-good fruit nearby and the lid is not in or the filters have migrated, we occasionally need to do an extra good clean. While I repurpose containers for all sorts of other stuff, having a purpose made compost bucket, right next to the sink, that I can de-lid with one hand, that is durable, and doesn't stink is the right choice for us.
 
pollinator
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I have two stainless steel compost pales in my kitchen: one with a regular, sealed lid for my compost that goes to the worms, and one with the holes in the lid & carbon that r ranson posted for my non-worm composting systems (keyhole, tumbler, bokashi).
Neither kitchen compost pale stinks for 2 main reasons:

1) I add 1-inch - 2-inches of shredded, fluffy carbon material (aka "browns") to the bottom of my kitchen compost pales before throwing kitchen scraps in. Specifically, I shred the brown paper bags from the grocery store & regular paper junk mail and add a layer of carbon to the bottom of the pale. You can also use coco coir at the base if you are trying to avoid toxins at all costs. This method keeps a significant amount of air at the base of the pale. After months of stinky kitchen compost pales & after taking Dr. Elaine Ingham's course about aerobic compost conditions verses anaerobic compost conditions, I noticed that the weight of the kitchen scraps in the compost pale forces the air out of the bottom of the pale causing it to go anaerobic ("airless"). Stinky is your body telling you that something is wrong. That something is a proliferation of anaerobic bacteria that will possibly make you and your plants sick - if you are not adding them to a proper compost situation (ie. getting your thermophilic compost pile hot enough to kill those anaerobes). With an inch or two of fluffy carbon layered at the bottom of the pale & not letting the kitchen compost pale get more than halfway full with scraps - for our family that equates to emptying every 2-3 days - our kitchen compost pale is no longer stinky - ever! That's because there is enough air both above & below the kitchen scraps & never enough weight to force the air out.

2) We empty our kitchen compost pale every 2 - 3 days. As mentioned above, this prevents the pile of scraps in the kitchen compost pale from getting heavy, forcing the air out & creating anaerobic conditions.

After emptying the pales, I rinse them out with a strong jet of water from my garden hose & let them sit upside down - no lid - to drain before adding the base fluffy layer of carbon. Because my pales don't go anaerobic, I do not use soaps to clean out the pales as I want them to be lined with that beneficial aerobic bacteria to start pre-coating my kitchen scraps in preparation for my compost systems. Occasionally, some darker -blackish- color molds may appear on the walls of the pale. Then, & only then, will I scrub the inside of the pale with baking soda & a sponge to clean them out.

Hope this helps. :-)
 
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We had an issue with ours attracting unwanted animal attention so I got an unused paint can.  It lets everything keep until I can go empty it.  Its not so big that it takes too long to fill it so it gets emptied most every day.  Easy enough to run through the dishwasher now and again to clean it up when needed.  
 
We should throw him a surprise party. It will cheer him up. We can use this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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