The Truth About Countertop Composting

We have participated in our municipal composting program for 4 years now. Ten months of the year, our bin sits on the counter.




In Washington, we pay for the size of our curbside trash container.  They range in size from 30 gallons to 90 gallons. We are also eligible for complimentary recycle and compost (yard waste) services. This, then, creates the motivation to reduce the quantity of solid waste produced by increasing the amount of recycling and compost/yard waste to reduce the cost of your trash service.

For a year, we had the 30 gallon container. It was not large; our trash was collected every single week (rotating recycling and yard waste on every other week). I loved the size of that container. It was easy to store and really motivated you to reduce waste. When the city changed collection schedules however, it was unmanageable. Our trash is now picked up every 2 weeks. When we moved to our second home in WA, we upgraded to the 45 gallon container and continued to compost

We are pretty good at this. Like I said, 10 months of the year we are active and enthusiastic composters. The other 2 months of the year, I fight the urge to throw in the towel and rack up the garbage. Kidding…kinda…

Composting is EASY: It’s really easy to participate in your municipal compost program! You need 1-3 items to start and you’re on your way. In our town, the city will provide us 1-2 yard waste bins (about 60 GAL) as well as a countertop bin. The countertop bin that they provide was a bit ugly for me and C so we invested in this version. In addition, we keep a supply of filters and a box of compost bags on hand.

What the city does not provide you is a way to combat the late summer heat and humidity that wreaks havoc on our small countertop bin. This heat and humidity results in fruit flies. So.Many.Fruit Flies. Long, long ago, my clever self figured out a solution to the miserable infestations of fruit flies.

3 ingredients

3 ingredients

In our home, at the initial onset of the fruit fly infestation, I break out the arsenal. It’s relatively simple: apple cider vinegar, Dawn Dish Soap and a small container.

Disclaimer: I have only ever had success with Dawn BLUE dish soap. I cannot predict results from using any other dish liquid.

During attack season, I keep the ingredients very handy. Currently, these are under my sink next to one another. The small container can be anything really. Most of our small glassware is still packed up so we are currently using the really small glass bowls that came with our Pho Bowl Set. Normally, I use empty baby food jars, votive holders, etc. ANYTHING small.

Pour a small amount of vinegar into the bowl (no more than halfway). Next, place 1-3 drops of Dawn into the vinegar. Always add the dish soap after the vinegar and make sure it is drops, not a stream.

In the decanter pictured above, I need to plug the top with my finger, slowly break the seal and allow a small puddle to form on my finger. I then carefully allow the puddle to break into drops as it enters the container. I don’t know why it doesn’t work if it’s a stream. I know I could look it up, or ask C…but I don’t care that much…it works.

A Fresh Trap

A Fresh Trap

Everywhere on the internet suggests covering the containers with tight plastic wrap and poking holes so the flies get trapped. I find this to be a ridiculous waste of time and plastic wrap. Just assemble and walk away.

I dare you.

Sometimes, I come back frequently to see how well its working.

A Used Trap

A Used Trap

This was left for about 24 hours on our windowsill. I usually try to place a trap wherever I see the flies gathering. It seems to work best in our house to be as proactive as possible in the fight. We replace the contents of the bowl (as well as washing the bowl) as often as possible. If it is particularly bad, they are replaced several times throughout the day.

This is our attack for a few days…until I do throw in the towel for a few months. It’s only for a little bit though.

Since composting has become part of our daily life, it becomes uncomfortable to not compost daily. We still throw any old food or waste food into the outdoor compost bin even if we are not utilizing the countertop bin. The heat has broken recently so we should hopefully be back on the composting wagon soon!



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