Sunday, August 12, 2012

Freezer Composting- An Easy Way to Keep Maggots Away!

Currently in our apartment the temperature is above 30 degrees. Outside it's 23 degrees with 89% humidity and a humidex of 32 degrees (that's almost a 10 degree temperature difference JUST from humidity).

It's disgusting. Everything is damp. The thought of practicing yoga in this humidity is gross. It's been like this ALL summer.

Beyond the wet, sticky skin, constantly damp bed and general discomfort, all this humidity has had some terrible consequences for composting.

Just a recap, in Nova Scotia it's the law that every person (and business- including yoga studios!) composts. In certain areas they require clear garbage bags and if they see food you'll get a 'rejection' sticker on your bag- for you to sort it out and rebag it. There are four sectioned paper-plastic-organics-garbage receptacles around the city and we have 'organics' trucks that pick up the compost from the large bin outside our apartment. It's super easy to compost here.

Unless it gets very humid- and then it just gets really gross.

For the past four years Andrew and I have been using a green bin and paper bag liners. It's usually less messy that way. Since we try to generate the least amount of organics waste AND prolong the life of our bags, we only need to empty the bin twice a week really.

But... it gets pretty darn disgusting. Caution- do not continue reading if you are eating. I'm about to get descriptive.

This summer the amount of mould has been staggering. I have become familiar with all types of mould, white fluffy kinds, weird grimy kinds, even an orange kind (that was particularly disgusting). And the SMELL. ugh. Dumping our compost started involving nausea inducing trips to the big bin, with icky juices running out and having to rinse the food bits off the bottom. Oh I am grossing myself just describing it.

Then... last week the unthinkable happened. We got maggots.

Now- this isn't the first time it's happened. I mean, when you don't empty the bin daily it's bound to happen. But with the extra humidity this was surreal. Fruit flies have also been a serious problem. The little suckers flew in, laid some eggs and voila- white maggot city. They COATED the entire inside and were crawling around on the outside. Just be glad I didn't think to take a picture- EWWW!!!!

We had to throw out the bin. It was beyond and I couldn't look at it without gagging. But we still had to compost... so what were we going to do?

(Our bin on the right. I chose to show you our entire freezer so you can see the size of the bin relative to the freezer. Please don't judge our freezer contents- the bag of ice was brought over by a guest at a birthday party last night, and the two round containers are how we're storing our bacon fat.... lol)

Andrew had the idea to just stick our compost bag in the freezer until we found a new bin. It was almost magical! No smell, no slime or icky compost sweat and best of all- no fruit flies or worms! Because I didn't feel too comfortable keeping it just an open bag, we went out and bought a smaller compost bucket with a lid and a handle that slides right into our freezer. It has been amazing. Why didn't we do this earlier?? If we had one, we could have totally just used an icecream container- it would have worked just as well. You could also, if you were feeling fancy, purchase this special (designed by Haligonians) compost silicone apparatus... but it's 60$ which I thought was a bit excessive.
(our compost bag fits easily in the bin!)

Here are some options for those people who have very full freezers:

  • Try having the bin out during the day or only around at meal times and then 'store' it in your deep freeze.
  • OR reorganize your freezer so rarely used items are moved to your deep freezer, leaving more room for your bin.
  • Consider keeping only the bag in the freezer, as it will be squishable and might fit easier into the freezer.

So there you have it! An easy, cheap way to keep composting fruit fly, smell and worm free!

article and photograph copyright EcoYogini at


  1. yeah that is always how i have done it...keep compost in a big tupperware or when it overflows, in a plastic bag in the freezer, till we take it to the food scrap collection at the farmers market. but now we have a yard, so we are going to have our own compost bin out back!

  2. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who does this! Someone once asked me if it was gross, keeping compost in the freezer, but honestly, it doesn't get gross as long as it's frozen. This really made 'compost' do-able for me (I'm in an apartment building, so not required to compost, but I like to anyway...)

  3. This is perfect! I'll have to do this in my new apartment next month. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Actually maggots/grubs/etc in compost aren't bad - they might be ugly and gross but they do break down the foodstuff as well into humus. It's the moth vs the butterfly :)


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