The mini compost bin revisited

A few days ago I posted about my “free” outdoor garbage can and that mini can I also got for composting scrap veggies and such before they go into our big bin outside. If you remember my motivation for this mini can was not strictly because I am so profoundly dedicated to preserving our earth and keeping usable materials out of our landfills. Rather, the truth was that  my laziness at walking outside to deposit an egg-shell (which by the way should be rinsed first) or a few pieces of nasty broccoli was the real impetus.

I have been doing quite well at remembering to place materials into this can and out of our basic trash bin. I have long know that coffee grounds can go into the compost bin and have so directed my husband to empty his into the mini bin. The caveat is that he has to actually remember to do this. I’m waiting to see how this goes. I on the other hand drink mostly tea and have been wondering about tea bags in compost receptacles. Along with coffee I know that filters can be composted, but today so many tea bags seem questionable to me for these reasons:

-of course the staple that holds the string isn’t compostable

-many tea bags, depending on the brand you buy of course, seem to be of a mesh poly substance that I would guess will not compost

I did some research as baby is taking her morning nap and came upon quite a few websites that discuss the composting of tea bags. They essentially recommend the use of loose leaf tea as the ideal. Have you seen the price of loose leaf tea lately? When you drink tea every day it can get pricey.

**Tea drinkers out there-do you have any suggestions for a great place to purchase loose leaf teas?

As I have already noted that my laziness often trumps other more practical matters in my life I do have to say that I like the convenience also of the tea bag. I’m not hooked on any one brand, other than one of my favorites is our local Market Spice. I drink a variety of teas, mostly contained in normal tea bags meaning the tissue-like paper, the string and the cute paper tag/holder. I have also used those odd little triangular-shaped bags which by the way are the ones that I don’t think will compost. (?) 

My Google searches led me to the conclusion that as long as I take the staple out of the string and assist decomposition by opening the tea bag before it goes into the compost then all should be fine. The paper, string and bag will eventually break down.

My search also led me to this site. I am especially excited to read through and post this handy little list where it will serve to remind me of the many significant items that can be composted. I knew protein items were a no-no, but how great to think that left over pastas, rice, and cereal can go in. Now that I read about those things they seem like a no brainer but I never thought about those items before. How about wine corks? Those are in pretty high supply at my house.

I also love that this site goes beyond the basic kitchen items and ventures into the surrounding rooms of the house.

These I will admit were a bit shocking, but when you think of it they all make sense: old loofahs, nail clippings, urine (! –  probably not at my house), old 100% cotton or wool clothing, animal fur (we have lots of that), vacuum cleaner bag contents, dryer lint, and the most surprising – used latex condoms! The author does suggest that one might want to bury those deeper in the compost to avoid questions should the neighbors or small children be exploring in your bins.

I am really rather excited to start tossing all this great material into my bin and to see just how much less space we take up in our trash bag. Luckily all our paper already goes to recycling, as well as glass and some plastics so while I could compost the papers I think I’ll stick to the program that recycles these things for us.

I’ve also been curious as to odors that might begin emanating from the small bin but so far things are pretty good in that area. I am really pleased with my decision so far and while I don’t intend to use this material for my yard or garden  at this time, I do feel slightly superior in that I am not adding actual useful stuff to the landfill.


5 thoughts on “The mini compost bin revisited”

  1. I WILL do a compost bin some day!! Not today…but someday. 😉 But to be serious, it’s a wonderful thing. Hope you figure out the tea thing! 🙂


    1. Thanks. For now as I have a large number of tea bags I’m sticking with that but will explore options for loose leaf which I think will be easier in the long run.


  2. Granted some loose leaf teas (and chain stores like Teavana…yikes!) can be ridiculously expensive, but a lot of times they aren’t that bad. In my experience, loose leaf has always lasted WAY longer than I thought it would, so it actually works out to be cheaper than buying the bags…and remember, the bags are “convenient!” so the companies are actually usually charging more $ per ounce.

    I don’t have any amazing tea stores in mind in Pierce County, but I would check out local/earthy places like Tacoma Boys, or Metropolitan Market, they may have the typical bank of loose-leaf tea bins. I know World Market also sells pre-packaged loose leaf teas. And grocery stores like Safeway usually have a few varieties of pre-packaged loose-leaf (I have purchased a couple types of Twinings in loose-leaf tins there). Oh! Also maybe the natural section at Fred Meyer? I think I have seen loose-leaf there too 🙂


    1. Teavana is horrendously priced! All good suggestions, I just need to make the time to go explore 🙂 If I go to Seattle and Market Spice I may never leave–do you think they would let me have a cot in the corner?


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