Eggshells In The Compost Bin
Should Eggshells be Included in the Compost Bin?
To answer the question. Should eggshells be included in the compost bin? First determine what an eggshell is as a substance and how it relates to making great compost.
In order to create the best compost in the compost bin a balance of materials considered to be green and those considered to be brown must be met. For example outdoor substances considered to be green are grass clippings, vegetable leaves, manure which are high in nitrogen content compared to carbon content ratio. Indoor greens examples are vegetable scraps as well as bread are most abundant. Other greens would be coffee, tea, hair and fur.
Items outdoors with high carbon content are tree leaves after they fall, sticks, stalks. Indoor brown or carbon rich items might be fireplace ash, potato peels and paper items and dryer lint, houseplants and used potting soil.
The question of eggshells for making compost is a somewhat controversial topic as to whether or not to add them. Eggshells contain very litle water and breakdown very slowly. Because the shells decompose very slowly you may see them appear to just “sit” there for what seems indefinitely in your bin. That is reason enough for some to skip putting them in the bin. Here is a method for solving that argument. Simply put the shells into a paper towel and crush them up. The smaller the size of the bits and pieces the faster they make compost for you. The towel becomes compost and the small size of the calcium rich shell pieces will encourage more rapid break down. A slightly acid environment should speed up decomposition. Worms like to eat eggshells. Again small bits are best for quicker breakdown into compost. Another benefit is, the eggshell while considered a brown substance, does contain a high amount of calcium a mineral essential for plant growth. The shells are made of almost entirely calcium carbonate. Calcium is the mineral plants need for stem and root growth as well as giving the rich green color to leaves. If you choose to add shells to the compost bin, because shells do compose slowly, and you may see them the solution is simple. Crush them into smaller pieces when you turn the materials. The shells will also help to allow airflow throughout the pile or bin which in turn helps eliminate the odor sometimes encountered next to compost.
Reasons for adding eggshells, 1. They are a natural substance. 2. They are in the category of browns. 3. Shells add the mineral and plant nutrient calcium. 4. Worms eat them. 5. Increase of air pockets to help with odor control. 6. Shells contain very little moisture.
The only reason you may not want to add eggshells to the compost collector is that the shells must be crushed into small bits for decomposition to occur at a rate which we don’t see them seem to sit around indefinitely in the barrel composter.
In the end, the question of, Should eggshells be included in the compost bin? can only be answered by each individual according to his or her situation and personal preference.
Author: Patricia Bass