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Can You Compost Bones?

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Trying to reduce the amount of waste a household produces can be challenging. Composting has become the go-to solution for many families that strive to achieve a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. And the whole matter becomes even more complicated if you own a dog!

So, can you compost bones? Yes, you can, but you need to use the right processing and composting method. You should always cook and break the bones to facilitate the process, and use composting devices to avoid attracting pests in the meanwhile. Composting through fermentation is the ideal method to get rid of bones.

Of course, each type of bone is different, as well as the devices in your household. Here are all the steps and tricks you should know to compost bones in the safest and fastest way!

How to Compost Bones?

An increasing number of families adopted composting as a solution to decrease the amount of waste produced and live a more sustainable lifestyle. However, if you have ever looked into these processes, you know that bones are always a no-no. So what can you do with bones?

Yes, you can compost them safely, but you should process them properly and use devices that will speed up the procedure while keeping pests away from your home. 

What to use to compost bones

Of course, composting is a budget-friendly alternative that you can carry on successfully in your backyard. However, if you or your dog are going through a lot of bones, you will need to rethink the way you are disposing of them. Processing bones in standard composting methods, such as in-ground and open-air composting, will undoubtedly lead to pests infestations and bad smells.

The reason why bones should never end up together with food and vegetable scraps is that they take much longer to decompose. Indeed, depending on the type of bone, they can take up to three months to break down. In the meanwhile, however, they will be releasing foul odors and become a feast for pests. 

However, there are two alternative methods that you could opt for if you need to get rid of your meat bones:

  • HotBin Composting: This bin boasts a capacity of 200 liters and keeps the internal temperature up to 60°C. The warmth speeds up the composting of bones and will get all your scraps ready to fertilize the ground in just over a month. Moreover, the fact that it is air-tight helps to keep odors and pests away from your home.
  • Bokashi: Bokashi composters are sealed bins that boast a spigot by the lower edge. Bokashi composting works through fermentation, which allows you to compost bones in total safety. Moreover, as the bins do not need to be open, you won’t have to deal with foul odors.
  • Standard Composting Methods: You can still opt to place your bones in the ground in your backyard, but you need to consider the processing times. If you opt for this more affordable method, ensure that you are burning them deeply enough.

In any case, you should consider that bones will take much longer than your food scraps to decompose. Bokashi bins can be an excellent alternative if you need ready-to-use fertilizer, as you can harvest the bokashi “tea” from the containers at any point. 

How to get bones ready for composting

Independently on how you have decided to compost your bones, you will need to process them properly to speed up the operation. This step is essential if you need a batch of fertilizer soon or space for another load of waste. Here are the best methods to process bones at home:

Boil them 

Boiling the bones softens their structure, which means that the composting device will break them down faster. Moreover, through boiling, you will be killing the bacteria that is still lingering on the meat scraps. This method is excellent if you like bone broth! You can make one more delicious meal out of them before placing them in the bin.

Break them down

Smashing the bones into smaller pieces with a hammer can help speed up the composting process. Alternatively, if you have a meat grinder at your disposal, you can grind the meat scraps altogether before throwing them in a Bokashi or HotBin device. Indeed, the microbes responsible for breaking down the wastes will work their way through the surfaces much quicker.

Burn them

If you have a fire pit at your disposal, you can consider burning the bones. This method might be more demanding, but you would be eliminating any remaining bacteria on the surfaces.

Can I compost beef bones?

Beef bones are among the largest ones you might have to deal with, but you can compost them just as well! However, in this case, it is essential to break them down into smaller fragments to see results promptly. Alternatively, beef bones make for a great broth, so you could opt to boil them first and, once soft, proceed to smash them. 

Can I compost meat bones?

All meat scraps and bones can find a suitable place in a composting device! However, there are some disadvantages to this process you should consider before starting it. The last section of this article should help you decide whether this disposal strategy is suitable for your household. If you have been wondering whether smaller bones, such as fish and chicken bones, can be composted through standard methods, you can find more info on our dedicated articles.

Should I Compost Bones?

If you are trying to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, you are familiar with the dilemma. Composting bones will surely decrease the amount of waste produced by any household that ends in landfills. However, the long composting time, higher investment, and increased effort necessary for this process might make it an inaccessible option. 

Moreover, you should always keep into consideration that bones might carry harmful bacteria and attract pests near your household. Since they also take almost twice as long as ordinary food scraps take to compost, they can be inconvenient to process in your backyard.

If you are determined to stick to it, it is essential to invest in appropriate devices that allow you to carry out the composting process in total safety. Composting through fermentation, in this case, will enable you to manage the harmful bacteria growing on the bones while maintaining high safety standards for you and your family.

Pros and Cons of Composting Bones

Pros:

  • It is the perfect way to reduce the amount of wastage in landfills
  • Might help you save on garbage taxes
  • You can save up space in your bin
  • You can obtain an excellent fertilizer from composting bones, especially through a Bokashi bin.

Cons:

  • The bones need to be broken down and processed before composting them
  • If the composting process is not perfect, bones might smell
  • Bones takes twice as long to compost
  • The composting methods suitable for bone composting are more expensive
  • You will need to handle meat food scraps with care

Final Thoughts

Composting bones is possible! You can even process larger bones, such as the ones deriving from beef, and all meat scraps. However, you should take into consideration the long composting times and the investment that might be necessary. 

You might also need to smash, boil, break, or burn the bones to speed up the process. When composting bones, you should opt for fermentation or hot composting processes that keep foul odors, pests, and bacteria at bay. This step is essential to ensure that you are maintaining high safety standards in your household. 

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