If you love eggs and you also have a composting pile, there will be a point when you are Wondering about adding leftover eggs into your compost. It can get a little confusing, especially with all the conflicting suggestions out there. Don’t worry; we will go through everything there is to know about composting eggs.
So can you compost eggs? Yes, You can compost eggs. However, it is not recommended to do so because composting eggs produces a foul odor, attracting pests and animals. Eggshells, though, are okay to compost.
This doesn’t mean that eggs are entirely useless when it comes to composting. You can still include them in the process. Though, there are several caveats.
When Can You Compost Eggs
Theoretically, all organic matter can be composted. Some take longer to decompose, while others break down quickly. If you exclude the terrible smell and pests out of the equation, eggs can be an excellent addition to the compost. They enrich the compost with nitrogen and several other minerals. So how can you overcome the adverse effects of eggs?
- Do not add eggs to an open composting pile.
- Only compost eggs in a good quality composting bin that is safe from animals and pests. Use compost tumbler if possible.
- The central part of a pile is the hottest and has the maximum activity. The materials decompose quickly there as compared to the other parts of the stack. You should add the eggs as close to the center as possible.
- Start by adding small quantities (One Egg) and see how your pile is responding. Do not add many eggs at once.
- Balance the ratio of greens and browns after adding eggs. Greens are moist items rich in nitrogen like grass clippings, vegetables, and eggs. In contrast, browns are dry items rich in carbon like paper, cardboard, etc. When you add eggs, you increase the nitrogen in the compost. You need to add dry materials like sawdust to even it out. When there is more nitrogen than recommended, the pile starts producing ammonia resulting in a foul smell.
- It would be best if you increased the turning frequency as well. A compost tumbler will make your job a lot easier.
Eggshells can be a great addition to your composting pile. They are an excellent source of calcium which is required by plants to build their cell walls. They can bring in a host of other benefits as well.
How Do You Properly Compost EggShells
While eggshells can make turn your composting pile into something extraordinary, most people do it wrong and end up blaming the eggshells. We often put them in a pile and end up with a stack that still has the eggshells intact. Some farmers also observe that when they add them in planting holes. If the eggshells are still intact, they are not doing anything for your compost.
So what’s the proper way? Well, let’s talk about it.
- First, you need to grind up the eggshells. Finer the better
- An Alabama Cooperative Extension study found that coarse grounds are not good enough. You have to make it into a powder. If crushed well, it works just as well as pure calcium.
- You can use your coffee grinder to do the job efficiently. However, I would advise you to use an old one!
- If you don’t have an old coffee grinder and don’t want to spoil a new one, we have another way. Boil a few eggshells and let them soak overnight, and in the morning, you will have a liquid solution filled with calcium. One eggshell adds 4mg calcium to the solution.
Benefits of adding Eggshells In the Compost
- Calcium in the eggshells makes the plants grow faster.
- Without calcium, tomato plants develop blossom end rot. It is a problem in which tomatoes grow a brown spot which eventually destroys the fruit. Calcium in the eggshells can help in preventing this issue.
- Eggshells won’t cause a foul odor as long as you wash them before adding them to the compost pile.
- Eggshells also help worms digest the food in a better way. Just like chickens, they can utilize it for enhancing the grinding action in their guts.
- If your soil lacks calcium, you can quickly alleviate this deficiency by adding eggshells to your composting pile or adding them directly to your garden.
- Eggshells can also work as a pesticide against snails, cutworms, and slugs. When you spread grounded eggshells on the ground, the pests crawling through them will receive several cuts. These cuts will dehydrate and eventually kill the pest.
Salmonella is something that most people are worried about when they think of eggs, and well, they should be! Salmonella is a dangerous thing, but should you be concerned about it affecting your compost?
Salmonella consists of several types of bacteria, and not all of them affect humans. We are regularly exposed to them, that’s why regular washing hands is recommended. Raw Eggs carry a risk of causing a salmonella infection, especially the cracked ones, and that’s why you should not consume raw eggs. Many places require farmers to wash eggs properly for the same reason.
The good news is that cooking rids of salmonella for good, and so does the hot composting. Hot composting can attain temperatures of over 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is sufficient to kill this bacteria.
Once the compost has gone through the process of hot composting and is adequately cured, it is reasonably safe to use. However, if you are using cold composting, then you should be wary of using raw eggs.
Can You Compost Egg Cartons?
Eggs cartons are almost a necessary accessory that you get while buying eggs. They can also be a great addition to your composting pile. However, you need to check the material they are made of. If they are made of cardboard or paper, they are good to go. But, If they are made of plastic or styrofoam, they will not decompose and should not be added to the composting pile.
Paper and cardboard egg cartons can be an excellent source of carbon for your composting pile. They can also help in soaking up extra moisture. To compost them efficiently, you have to cut them into smaller pieces. You can use scissors or a box cutter. If these don’t work for you, soak egg cartons for a few hours, and they are good to go.
Eggs don’t enter your home alone. They come with eggshells and cartons, which you should compost. However, composting cooked and raw eggs is a complicated process and can easily result in a foul-smelling disaster filled with animals and pests, and therefore should be avoided!