Compost FAQs

What is compost?

Often mistaken as dirt, compost is a powerful soil amendment that is the direct product of the natural decomposition of organic materials.  Finished compost looks like moist chocolate cake crumbles that has a 70% dark cocoa color and feels moist and airy to touch.  Quality compost has the power to resuscitate dirt and fully enhance any soil.

What is compostable green material?

Compostable green material includes organic material that is elementally nitrogen as it decomposes.  When left by itself, it will probably create a smell.  These materials can include raw food waste of vegetables and fruits, coffee grounds, eggshells, old flowers, hair and yard trimmings— to name a few.

What is compostable brown material?

Compostable brown material includes organic material that is elementally carbon as it decomposes.  When left by itself, it will not give off any foul odors as with green materials.  Brown materials can include brown paper bags, autumn leaves, wood chips, office paper, dried yard trimmings and straw–to name a few.

Why can’t meat and dairy be composted?

The honest answer is that meat and dairy CAN be composted but not through the method of traditional aerobic composting.  In the traditional method of composting,  it is imperative to omit all meats, dairy, oily foods, pet feces and cooked items from being placed inside of your pre-compost collection container.  

What goes inside of my SiStained8 compost container?

Everyday household items that classify as green material can be emptied into your compost container.  Raw food waste of vegetables and fruits, coffee grounds, eggshells, old flowers, hair and yard trimmings are ideal items.  In addition, it is generally great practice to chop your additions smaller (at least 2 inch pieces) before placing them into your container.  

Why does my compost container smell and what can I do to quell the smell?

It is normal for a natural scent to come from your compost container as it fills with the  collection of mostly green material.  It doesn’t have to be an UNBEARABLE scent, however.    First you can manage any odor by making sure that your input of food waste is chopped to at least 1 inch pieces–the smaller, the better.   Next, layering your green materials with brown materials act as an odor filter as you collect your green materials.  Think lasagna!  Place browns atop your green materials as the bucket fills.   Lastly and at your discretion,  sprinkle a small amount of water to “activate” the carbon material as it interacts with your green materials.  These steps will help quell the smell.

What should I do with my compost tea bag?

Your compost tea bag can be used immediately one of two ways: apply the contents directly to your plant/crop as a soil conditioner or make your own compost tea.

SOIL CONDITIONER: To use a soil conditioner,  simply apply a 1-2 inch layer of compost to your plants’ soil surface,  lightly mix into soil then water the soil.   

GET THETEA: Yourcompostteabagcontains enough nutrients to create 5 gallons of compost tea. You’ll need a standard 5 gallon container, an air pump, an airline tube and finally an air stone. Additionally: you’ll need unsulphured molasses as a sugar source.  

  1. Fill the bucket with dechlorinated water. (Simply let the bucket sit uncovered for 24 hours to allow chlorine to dissipate if using tap water).
  2. Attach your air pump, tubing and air stone then turn it on.  Place the air stone inside the bucket.
  3. As the water begins to bubble, drop 1 large tablespoon of molasses into the bucket.
  4. Remove labeling then lower your SiStained8 compost tea bag into the water.  Allow it to steep in the container like you would an herbal tea bag in a cup.
  5. Lastly the tea should bubble up for no more than 48 hours.  Once finished, use tea right away.  Stay in contact with us on social media for more guidance…we are happy to assist!

What should I do when my container is full?

Now is your time to shine; take the next steps to create your own compost! You can empty your compost container into your own designated backyard composting pile or your own compost tumbler/bin.   Other options include dropping your contents in your container to your nearest community garden or a food waste drop off site provided by your area’s municipal services. 

For those in the District of Columbia, please check out a drop site closest to you here:

For a nationwide food waste drop site listing, please check here:

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