Can you compost dairy in your YOLO Compost Tumbler?

In general, we recommend that you do not compost meats, dairy, fats and oils in your YOLO Compost Tumbler. Let’s take a look at why we prefer dairy not to be added to your YOLO.

In a regular compost heap, dairy rots quickly giving off a bad odour, which attracts pests – rats and company (many people battle with these pests without adding dairy to the equation). Dairy can be composted in a compost heap if you mix it with dry, carbon-rich materials like sawdust and crushed dry leaves to counter the moisture and high nitrogen content of the dairy. And then dig it in deep to keep it away from pests.

In a compost tumbler, you could compost dairy BUT you would have to be very proactive and vigilant in managing the mix. The tumbler shell itself will keep pests out. The problem really is about moisture management. Dairy waste – like yoghurt and milk – is very moisture-rich and as the YOLO is a closed shell and that people often struggle to balance the moisture content from their fruit and veg cuttings, it could really become a smelly, slooshy mess.

I could be tempted add a little dairy waste to my large YOLO Compost Tumbler, which primarily contains grass cuttings and dry leaves but I’d be hesitant to toss it in my small unit in which I just have kitchen waste with some dry leaves and torn-up egg trays to balance the moisture. That said, if the contents of your YOLO are too dry, instead of adding in a splash of water you could pour in the sour dregs from a milk bottle and it would compost.

As you gain experience of composting, composting small amounts of dairy waste in your YOLO Compost Tumbler is something that you may want to explore.

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