Are you interested in composting, or do you already compost?
Are you looking for more information about what you should and shouldn’t add to your compost pile?
Can you compost egg shells as part of your household’s composting waste?
When you practice composting, chances are good you’ll eventually find yourself faced with eggshells in your kitchen garbage. But do you really need to throw those away, or can you add them to the compost?
In most instances, it’s okay to add eggshells to your compost. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to compost eggshells and whether or not it’s a good idea to do this.
By the time you finish reading, you should be prepared to make your own decision on the matter of composting eggshells in your home. Read on to learn more!
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Basics of Composting Egg Shells
Take a look at the basics we’ve listed for you below. With this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about composting eggshells in your household and hopefully add them to the list of items your family can compost successfully.
Many people have an issue with composting eggshells because they take much longer to break down than other types of waste.
You can see the eggshells in the compost for a long time—sometimes right up until the compost is finished—and this is off-putting to some.
- When you go to turn your compost, don’t be surprised if you see big chunks of eggshells inside. Even when your compost is complete, it may be possible to see a few larger pieces of eggshells within it.
However, it’s perfectly safe and in fact is a good practice to compost eggshells.
There are plenty of benefits you can enjoy from utilizing eggshells in your compost pile, and even though you can see the eggshell in large pieces as it breaks down, there’s no real reason to avoid using eggshells. They take a little longer to break down than other materials, but they are flimsy enough overall that they won’t take too long.
There are some pests that love eggshells.
Raccoons may especially go looking for them. If you have an issue with pests searching out your eggshells, bury them in the center of the compost pile so animals and insects won’t be able to smell them as well. This is also good advice for any type of compost that may attract pests.
Egg shells add calcium to your soil, so they can be especially beneficial to plants that require calcium.
Many types of plants need calcium, and there are many types that may not necessarily need it, but will still grow very healthy and strong with the presence of calcium in the soil.
- Some plants, like tomatoes, need calcium in order to avoid rotting as they grow. When calcium is present in the soil used for growing these types of plants, you’re less likely to see the blossoms wither and die without producing fruit or vegetables.
- Orchids (and their unique cousins, carnivorous plants) also need plenty of calcium. Many people who grow these plants must add calcium to the soil via chemical additives, but composting with eggshells can easily take care of this problem.
- Keep in mind, however, that there are some types of plants that may be hindered in their growth by too much calcium in their soil.
Because of the heat involved in the composting process, salmonella from eggshells is not a major concern in composting.
Keep in mind that it’s extremely rare for eggs to carry salmonella. However, it is a possibility; therefore, some people choose to use eggshell-based compost only on plants that are not designated for eating. If you choose to go this route, that’s fine, but remember most edible plants can be fertilized with eggshell compost and will not absorb any salmonella that could potentially be present.
- Washing the eggshells can help remove this risk, too. If you wash the eggshells before you break them down and throw them into the composting pile, you’ll remove any traces of salmonella that may be present and will nullify the risk.
You do not have to crush the eggshells before adding them to the compost, but this will speed up the composting process considerably if you do.
Since eggshells do take a little while to break down, you can facilitate speedy composting by crushing them into small bits beforehand. This way, you’ll be doing some of the compost’s work for it.
- As a side note, it’s also a good idea to do this with larger pieces of pasta as well as stale bread. You’ll see successful composting results sooner if you do this for any larger pieces of food that may take some time to break down.
Now that you’ve had a chance to learn a little bit about eggshell composting, you may find yourself wondering just why you’d want to in the first place. If eggshells are harder to compost than some other food items, is it really necessary to go to the trouble?
Yes! There are many reasons why you might want to add eggshells to the compost pile. Here are a few benefits of composting eggshells that you should keep in mind when trying to decide whether or not to go this route:
- Composting eggshells will reduce the amount of kitchen waste you throw away and add to landfills regularly. Everything you compost is one less item in a landfill. Although this may not seem like much to begin with, the more you compost, the more you’re doing to benefit the environment and the health and wellbeing of the planet.
- Eggshells themselves may not be a detriment to most landfills, but they do take up space. Since we need space in landfills for items that cannot break down quickly, it’s a good idea to handle the items that can in your own home or backyard whenever possible.
- Eggshells are a natural way to reduce the number of slugs and worms in your soil. As eggshells break down, they create jagged, sharp edges. These edges may cut creatures like slugs and worms that can harm your compost. When these creatures are cut, they are more likely to die, and as this happens others of their number will realize the compost pile isn’t a safe place for them to be.
- It may take a little time, but you can organically manage many types of pests by incorporating eggshells into the composting pile. Breaking them a little bit before throwing them in can speed up this process, too.
- Eggshells help strengthen your soil significantly. Aside from the calcium, which we’ve already discussed, eggshells can add all sorts of useful and beneficial nutrients to the soil as they break down. They are a healthier way to make this happen than animal bone, since bone can sometimes carry disease and may need to be composted more strictly than eggshells.
In the end, the decision is entirely up to you. Just remember that the benefits usually outweigh the few downsides of composting eggshells, and that it’s simple and easy in most cases to throw them on the pile.