Solutions to Common Compost Problems

August 16, 2017

For the most part, composting should be easy: Reduce waste production by recycling organic materials. But sadly, you may run into some problems that will make the process more painful than it should be. But don't worry (and don't stop composting)! Here are common compost problems and quick solutions that will get your composting back on track!:


1. It smells!!

Healthy compost should have a rich and earthy odour. But your compost could be stinky because it's not getting enough air, and/or it could be too wet. So make sure to mix the compost regularly to help aerate it, and make sure to add dry material (such as straw or shredded leaves).


2. Flies! Bugs!! PESTS!!!

Are you finding unwanted critters in your compost? To avoid attracting pests to your compost, you must avoid composting food that attracts these critters. Particularly, any animal products and by-products: meat, pet waste, fats, or bones. These tend to attract other animals and critters.

Mixing your compost pile more frequently will encourage decomposition and discourage attracting pests.


3. Too wet!!

Compost that is too wet won't decompose effectively. Your compost pile should be as wet as a damp sponge. Your compost pile can be too wet because of: poor aeration, too much moisture, or not enough dry material.

To prevent your compost from becoming too wet, mix your compost more frequently. Work in dry material (straw, dry leaves, sawdust) into your compost as you do this. Soon enough, you'll have dryer compost!


4. Too Dry!!

Be careful to not make your compost too dry! Organic matter won't break down if it is. This happens more often during warmer weather.

To fix this, just mix your compost and then water it! It's as simple as that! Remember, the rule of thumb is to keep it as wet as a damp sponge!

These are the most common roadblocks you'll have while composting. These problems will make it difficult and will take long to fix, but you must strive and persevere! The healthy compost you'll get will definitely be worth the wait!



Cortesia Sanctuary (2008). Compost Troubleshooting Guide. Retrieved from


Lifestyle Pro on Genesis Framework (2017). Troubleshooting Composting Problems. Retrieved from










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UWCC aims to promote a campus-wide composting service at UW from diverting organics from the regional landfill, as well as raising awareness of zero-waste practices.

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