If I told you backyard composting is glamorous, I’d be lying. While it certainly isn’t attractive, it is beneficial to your household, your plants, and the environment. It’s also not overly complicated.

It’s easy to see how a beginner may be discouraged from getting started with some of the myths floating around about the subject. Some of them make it seem like backyard composting isn’t worth it. 

In this post, I’ll take you through some of these misconceptions and explain how they’re not always true.

1. Backyard Composting Stinks—So Does the Indoor Collection Bin

Of course, composting isn’t odourless. Your outdoor bin will likely smell like nothing more than a little sweet dirt, but it’s actually kind of pleasant—if its contents are balanced. This just means keeping a healthy mixture of greens and browns to ensure you maintain the correct moisture levels. If it’s too wet, add more browns. Too dry, add more greens.

For the bin you use to collect compost inside, you just want to make sure you empty it regularly and give it a quick rinse afterward. It’s also helpful to clean it with soap every so often.

Personally, I use a small pail from the hardware store. I line it with a bit of waste paper and empty it about once a week when it’s full—without any offensive odours. 

You also want to avoid putting meat, bones, fats, and oils into a regular compost bin. This could create a nasty smell and attract bears or other critters.

2. Composting is Annoying or Difficult

Although it does seem a bit intimidating, composting doesn’t need to be complicated.

You’ll likely spend a bit of time researching the right type of bin and take some time setting it up. However, once you do, you’re good to go. From there it’s just a matter of collecting your compostables into a pail, dumping them in the outdoor bin as needed, and covering it with dry leaves or other browns. Every couple of weeks, stir your pile, and in time you’ll have some nutrient-rich compost to help your plants grow.

Another point to note is that composting also makes garbage day a cinch as you’ll have less waste to take to the curb. 

3. Food Breaks Down in the Landfill Anyway

It’s common to think food waste, plants, and even paper products break down in the landfill because they do. However, as organic materials break down in the landfill, they receive no oxygen under all that trash. This causes it to break down slower and produce methane as it does.

Really, it’s better if we can avoid food waste altogether, but think about your vegetable peels and fruit cores—as well as those moments when you slip and just forget to eat a bit of produce. If you place them in your compost instead of sending them to the landfill, they receive the oxygen they need to break down quicker.

4. You Need to Buy Stuff

Backyard composting is as much of an investment as you want to make it. If you want to avoid buying a bin, there are plenty of DIY options, some of which involve nothing more than a simple tote. You may even have what you need to make one already.

Personally, I bought an outdoor bin two years ago because it was the best choice for me, but I use a simple pail lined with waste paper to collect my compostables. There’s no need for special indoor bins, bags, filters, etc. 

5. You Need a Big Yard

You don’t need a big yard to compost. In fact, you likely want your bin close anyhow to avoid a long trip—especially if you get ice and snow. 

You do need a little space when working with your bin, so size is something to consider when researching the type of bin you’d like to use, but you don’t need an acre for that to happen.

My yard is limited so I understand. I tucked mine behind the house where it’s accessible, yet out of sight to passersby and away from neighbours.

You Won’t Know Until You Try

Composting is an excellent way to deal with unavoidable food waste. While it may seem daunting to someone who’s never tried it, it’s not overly challenging—nor stinky or expensive.

First things first, you’re going to want to research bins and make a plan.

If you’d like to read about the backyard composting process more in-depth, I wrote an article about it that you can find here.