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Amazing, Pest-free Summer Composting: 5 Must-Dos!

As summer rolls in, it’s common for our compost bins to gather odours and critters more easily… but don’t worry, we’re here to give you some tips on the best pest-free summer composting practices for fresh and clean composting year-round!

Tips:

  1. Add more paper-based material. Adding coffee filters, tea bags, paper towels and newspapers help catch moisture and slow down the degrading process
  2. Wrap your sweets! High sugar content can attract critters and fruit flies. Try wrapping your fruits and sweets in newspaper or paper towel before adding them into your compost bin.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda inside the bin. This will prevent acidity from building up and breaking down organic material too quickly.
  4. Keep a compost container in the freezer. Place fish, meat and certain foods that spoil quicker in your freezer until collection day. Watch out particularly for foods high in Vitamin C (ex: broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, oranges, potatoes) they tend to spoil quicker, and that can lead to more odours.
  5. Replace your indoor compostable liner every 2-3 days. Whether you use newspaper, paper bags or compostable bags to line your compost bin, make sure to replace your liner regularly and/or increase the service frequency of your bins.  This will help prevent food accumulation in the bin and potential spoilage and smells. (Did you know Growing City has compostable liners for purchase in three different sizes? Just contact us and we’ll have as many boxes as your bin desires delivered straight to your address

Finally, another (no-brainer, but often forgotten) tip for pest-free summer composting is to close your recycling bin lid after every use! It seems obvious, but as we do our service runs we see many green bins where people have forgotten to close the lid.  Not only can this attract insects, but also birds can be drawn to the materials inside.  If you’ve ever seen a bin that’s been ransacked by seagulls, you’ll understand how important a closed lid can be!

A collection of whole food scraps next to a pile of degraded summer composting material.

Food scraps degrading into rich summer composting material.

Prevention is the key for pest-free summer composting!

The above suggestions are all great tips related to your compost bin. However, the reality is that the best way to eliminate pests in your summer composting program is to avoid having them make a home in your space in the first place.  In particular, fruit flies love being part of your composting program.

You’ve probably noticed these little tiny brown insects roaming around your bananas and that’s for a very good reason. Like us, fruit flies have preferred conditions that attract them into our kitchens.  By identifying what is bringing (and keeping) them into your environment, you can make changes to keep them at bay.

We’ve created a handy checklist to help you determine the source of the problem:

Fruit Fly Prevention Checklist:

- Is there food left on the counter (fruit, cookies, sugar packets etc.)?
- Do you have any damp cloths or sponges lying around on the counter or in the sink?
- Have your containers been rinsed before being put into the recycling bin?
- Do your other recycling or garbage bins have lids (we know ours do)?
- Do you have standing water lying around anywhere in your kitchen?
- Have your counters been wiped down (preferably with water and vinegar) after each use?

It doesn’t take much to keep a fruit fly healthy and happy.  They can often sustain themselves from a wet sponge or cloth in the sink, and a few spare grains of sugar someone forgot to wipe off the counter.  (Despite how annoying they can be, we have to respect their resilience!

If you’ve answered Yes to any of the above questions, you’ve created an environment where they can thrive.

Say goodbye to fruit flies!

Fruit flies typically come home with you from the grocery store – usually as tiny eggs in the skins of fruit.  It doesn’t take long for them to appear, either.  Fruit flies and maggots have a life cycle of 48 hours from being laid to hatching when at room temperature.

You may have noticed they can often make a home in your sink drain.  If that’s the case, sprinkle a little baking soda in and around the drain.  Then pour a 1/4 cup of plain white vinegar in and around the drain as well.  You’ll see the baking powder fizzle (don’t add too much of either, unless you want to create a small volcano in your sink!).  That should eliminate any eggs that could be hiding in there.

So in summary, by keeping your counters clean, freezing your fruit peels before composting them, keeping fruit in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it, and drying your damp cloths, you’ll make your space inhospitable to your unwelcome flying guests.

There you have it! With a few small adjustments, we can continue to compost year-round without a smell or a pest.

Let us know if you’d like to learn more about setting up your composting program, or how we can make your recycling programs more simple, clean and convenient.  We’re here to help!

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