What can I compost in the Urban Composter?
All types of food scraps can be added. These include fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, citrus, dairy, coffee grounds, wilted flowers, eggshells and more! We recommend cutting up food scraps into smaller pieces to allow for quicker fermentation. It’s best to avoid adding excessive liquids or anything that’s already gone bad/rotten. While the Urban Composter can handle small bones, bear in mind that while these will take a VERY long time to break down—while you can expect to see them in your compost, bear in mind that bones act as excellent slow-release fertilizers.
If adding any animal-based food scraps, it’s best to add 1 teaspoon of sugar and to thoroughly spray them with Compost Accelerator. This helps gives the fermentation a boost, providing easy-to-digest sugars to help offset the harder-to-digest proteins and fats.
If I add animal-based food scraps to the Urban Composter, won’t it attract pests?
No. The Urban Composter ferments food waste, giving it a strong pickled/sour smell that most animals cannot tolerate. On two occasions, we accidentally left the lid open to our compost bin (to which we add fermented food scraps) for at least 24 hours, and there was no evidence of animals getting into it! Certain flies might be attracted to the fermented scraps, so it’s important to keep your lid tightly closed—this keeps odours in and pests out.
Is the Urban Composter suitable for apartment/condo living?
Yes! Even if you do not have a garden, you can use the Urban Composter to reduce your food waste and so benefit your home and the environment. If you have a balcony, mix the contents of the Urban Composter in a large Rubbermaid bin with an equal amount of healthy soil. This will eventually turn into compost, which will nourish potted plants. If this is not possible, many municipalities offer regular organic waste pick-up.
As a last resort even if you put the contents into the garbage, by using the Urban Composter you have reduced the volume of your food waste by about 300%. As the food scraps ferment in the Urban Composter, no greenhouse gases are released! Plus you will have produced your own organic liquid fertilizer which your plants will love.
How do I use the Urban Composter?
Cut up your food scraps and add them to the Urban Composter bucket. Tamp them down with the tamper to compact them, and help remove trapped air. Add a few sprays of Compost Accelerator onto the scraps every time they are added. Drain the juice from the bucket every few days. The juice can be diluted with water (1:100, or 1 tsp juice mixed with 500 mL water) and used as a fertilizer for the garden. It can also be drained into the sink as an organic drain cleaner or poured full-strength down the drain for houses on a septic system to help boost the break down of septage.
What if my Urban Composter develops a strong offensive odour?
It is very important to drain the juice from your composter every few days to avoid any stronger smells. When you open the lid to add more food scraps and when you drain the liquid, there will likely be a fermenting odour (often described as sour or pickled). If an offensive smell (think putrid, rather than pickled) occurs, you can use a mix of vinegar and water directly onto the food scraps to reduce this odour.
That said, the Urban Composter will not emit any odours while the lid is fully closed. We keep our Urban Composter right on our countertop, day and night, and never notice any odours from it (except when we open it).
How should I clean my Urban Composter bucket?
It is important that you don’t use harsh chemicals, as this will kill the microbes in the accelerator spray. Any organic/biodegradable cleaner can be used to clean your City or Urban Composter bucket, or you can also use water mixed with vinegar or lemon juice.
What happens when my bucket is full?
Ideally, leave the scraps in your Urban Composter or City Composter for one week after filling, to ensure all food scraps are properly fermented. Next ensure all the juice is drained, then bury the remaining pulp under soil, or place it in a compost bin or pile. The food scraps from your Urban Composter will continue to break down and will become compost in about 6-8 weeks. This compost can be used in garden beds or potted plants.
Will maggots or flies appear in the Urban Composter?
If the Urban Composter lid is been left open, it’s possible for flies to come in and lay eggs. This is more common in warmer climates and during summer months. If this happens, empty the Urban Composter and bury the contents. Rinse the bucket with water and clean it using an organic cleaner or a mix of water and vinegar, cleaning around the lid seal very well.
When I screw in the spigot, it ends up upside-down (or to the side/off-centre). Do I need a replacement?
No. All you have to do is unscrew the spigot and then remove the nut inside, rotating it so that it allows the spigot to end up perfectly aligned, after being tightened to “hand tight” (as tight as you can reasonably get it by hand, without the need for any tools). If your spigot is upside down, turn the nut halfway around; if your spigot faces to the right, turn the nut a quarter turn or so to the right (clockwise); etc. It might help to watch this video on how to fix this issue.
My Urban Composter has a leaky tap.
If the leak is from where the tap inserts into the side of the bucket:
- Ensure the spigot is screwed tightly into the bucket.
- If so and it’s still leaking, the nut on the inside of the bucket into which the spigot screws may have been inserted backwards. One side of the nut is smooth around the outside; the other is hollowed-out around the threaded centre. The visible side (i.e., facing the centre of the bucket) should be hollowed-out.
- If the nut is properly aligned and the tap is still leaking, remove the spigot and add some teflon tape (plumber’s tape) around the threading of the spigot. This will help to tighten the seal.
If the leak is from the tap itself:
Tighten the top of the tap just below the lever that opens/closes the tap. If this does not work, contact us and we will send you a replacement tap.
A build-up of liquid should not be allowed to accumulate in the bottom of the Urban Composter. It is important to drain off the liquid every couple of days. Watch this video which troubleshoots all tap issues.
What if my lid is hard to open or close?
The Urban Composter bucket lid is designed to be a snug fit. As the Urban Composters are individually manufactured, there may be slight differences and a few people find some lids hard to open.
For the Urban Composter Family: if you find that the clips on the lid are tight, you can soften them by applying heat from a hair dryer for a minute or so. The clips will also loosen with use. Always use the front lip of the lid—this is best for opening and closing the clips.
For the Urban Composter City: if you find the lid is hard to open rub some vegetable oil around the top of the bucket where it connects with the lid. The lid does soften and become easier to open with use.