Can You Compost Cheese? What You Need to Know!
Technically, you can compost cheese. It will degrade over time and eventually turn into compost. However, it will attract pests, which are typically not what you want for your compost pile. This is true for any dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and cream.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can not compost cheese at all. While it is one of the traditional foods that regular composters tell you to avoid, you can compost it in some situations.
With that said, if you did not want to take the chance of attracting pests, we do recommend avoiding cheese. It is one of the more difficult foods to compost, after all. Therefore, many beginners may just want to avoid it altogether.
Rules for Composting Cheese
There are a few ground rules that can help you compost cheese without attracting pests or creating other problems. What makes cheese different from other foods you compost is the very high moisture and fat content. Furthermore, cheese is very soft. It basically turns into mush when you try to compost it, which can be a problem.
If you simply leave put cheese into the compost pin, it may simply turn into mush, which would slow down the composting. The middle may take very long to compost.
Therefore, you should mix the cheese with a fibrous material that will prevent it from turning into mush. Good options include leaves, straw, or paper. These materials help soak up some of the moisture from the cheese and encourage air pockets, which lead to composition.
We highly recommend using plenty of these dry fibrous materials, which are often called “browns.” These materials should be high in carbon, which cheese is not.
On top of the moisture and lack of structure cheese provides, the fats in the cheese tend to slow down the decomposition process. These oils can coat the cheese and even other items, which prevents water from penetrating them.
Also, composting cheese produces a lot of liquid, which you’ll need to take care of later. It can also produce a lot of odors. Therefore, if you’re composting indoors or near your home, you may not want to utilize cheese. Of course, a small amount of cheese isn’t likely to cause many problems.
We recommend only adding a small amount of dairy waste to any compost pile, as it tends to clump and lead to problems.
While you can compost cheese, you have to do it carefully and with intent. Simply throwing cheese into a compost bin probably isn’t going to work out very well.
Tips for Composting Cheese
Here are a few more tips that may help you compost cheese. These are not always possible in all situations and should be considered optional. However, if you use these tips, your cheese may compost a bit better.
Can You Compost Vegan Cheese?
Vegan cheese is organic mater and made from plant material. Technically, it is safer to compost because it is not made from dairy. However, it is still very cheese-like, which means that many of the above instructions still apply.
For instance, vegan cheese is extremely moisture-rich, which makes it harder to compost. You’ll need to add a bunch of dry materials to help dry the pile out.
Can You Put Moldy Cheese in Compost?
Yes. You can add moldy cheese to compost. Mold is necessary for composition, so it naturally occurs inside a compost pile anyway. It doesn’t really matter if you add moldy cheese or un-moldy cheese to the compost bin. You’ll end up with the same compost in the end.
Still, you’ll need to follow all the above suggestions to ensure that the cheese composts properly. Otherwise, you may end up with a smelly, gunky pile of compost.
Usually, it is recommended to not put cheese into your compost bin. It tends to clump up and has a high moisture content, which leads to all sorts of problems. It can eliminate air pockets, which can produce pathogens and lead to odors. Furthermore, it takes a fairly long time to break down. In the end, this leads to attracting pests, who come to the pile looking for food.
However, if you follow certain rules, you can compost cheese. You’ll want to add lots of dry materials that suck up the moisture. Heat can also increase the composition rate and dry out the cheese. Splitting the cheese up as much as possible is vital for the composition process, as well. If you throw in a big brick of cheese, it typically gunks up and will not compost.
Following these rules can make composting cheese possible. However, if you’re new to compositing or aren’t looking to put in a lot of work, then you may want to skip adding cheese to your compost pile.
You might also be interested in: Do You Need Worms to Compost? What You Need To Know!
Featured Image Credit: Alexander Maasch, Unsplash