Did you think of building the "Inverti-arium?" I dont know where I saw the original model for it, perhaps the old and moldy original Mother Earth News. It is a container such as a trash can which consists of a community of invertibrates within. Not sure if its compostable? Something will eat it. The invertitarium contains both redworms and nightcrawlers, soil and paper in the bottom, black soldier fly larvae in the middle section, local ground snails from your garden, and two species of mail order cockroaches, one large and one small. Finally, a small locally drafted or pet shop lizard (as the apex predator which will never go hungry) . Desmid fly larvae (used by taxidermists to remove viscera from bones) will address your meat issues....the contraption needs light to prevent mite infestation and alittle misting every week.......I hear it stinks..I think its an outside project best tended by an enthusiastic pre-teen...I have read that it is a super composter and should be opened and emptied 1x per year.....
Black soldier flies will eat all meat and dairy. Apparently they are the most efficient composter's around.
A couple of guys from Sydney, Australia are doing some interesting work with them. They say that apparently 1 square meter of soldier fly larvae will eat 15kgs of waste in 24 hours.
Check it out - www.blacksoldierflyfarming.com
I have just begun this process (with my own home made bucket) so I can't really report successes or failures yet. It is an anerobic process and you can compost any type of food you wouldn't put in your regular compost pile.
Once I perfect this I am hoping to take it large scale and possibly collect restaurant scraps.
Wow! a lot of posts a year ago; is this correct? Odd that my post is exactly one year later.
All the posts here make great advice. I'll ad my two bits.
First, I live in Southern California high desert with air humidity almost always less than 30%. My soil is very fine to fine sandy flood plain alluvium Nothing I can see composts naturally in this environment, except for a brief period after a soaking rain. All my yard wastes are composted actively by adding water and some nutrients directly in the pile. I always save some of the last compost to inoculate the new pile, just like making yoghurt.
If the waste is based upon the organic carbon based molecule, it will compost.
Typically a compost is an aerated biological conversion. The bacteria are first to feed on the smorgasbord of raw food. If there is enough nitrogen in the raw ingredients your pile will generate significant heat. Heat is good as it kills off a large number of the pests and larvae. My chickens always make their rounds to include the compost pile; they finish the job and love me when I turn the pile.
If its particularly smelly, like some of my kitchen waste kept temporary in a 5 gal bucket with a lid, it means the material went anerobic (i.e. without oxygen, and the by-products are labeled a Ferment). I learned from a master that the ferment products have other benefits than as nutrients in the cycle. Its all good. I bury the offensive smelly wastes deep in the pile near an edge so that they will mix into the general pile after the first turning.
I prefer rain water for the compost but I rarely get that luxury. If you have that resource feel blessed. My ground water carries a salt load (1400 ppm min ... 1900 ppm max). Some of these salts are plant nutrients and some are toxins. I minimize how much I use to start the pile and find it useful to loosely tarp the pile to minimize evaporation. Eventually, the low ambient humidity in the air will dry the top 6" or so, but tarping retards this process.
I use a 'chipper' to reduce the size of all material and expose more surface area to decompose rapidly. Bones, and egg shells or sea shells if you have that resource, will add the much needed calcium.
I apply my compost as a 'top dressing' cover mulch. When the season is over the compost gets tilled into the soil. Even after 6 mos in the compost pile and a season as a mulch, the composted products can still be recognized as plant parts. However, some of the compost with the aid of the fungi breaks-down to the substance plants love; it is what the scientists call Humic Acid, and what I prefer to think of as functioning in plant health and quality like an essential nutrient.
I have a long ways to go improving my soil, but I can grow many healthy crops in abundance. The compost conversion increase both my water holding and nutrient exchange mechanisms in the soil.
Lots of labor intensive suggestions being made here. Personally, i'm in favor of the style of no-turn pile that was described in Humanure Handbook whether or not your using humanure. This is what i do with all my kitchen scraps, meat included and nothing bothers my pile. Indeed, my dogs walk right past it and don't take any interest whatsoever.
Make a neat bin to keep everything situated, contained and aesthetically pleasing and put a 1ft layer of "brown" material on the bottom to act as a biological "sponge". Every time you dump a load of scraps, dead animal, humanure, etc (greens) cover it with a thick layer of coarse, "brown" material. The very top layer may have some bugs in it unless you cover it with a thick enough layer but the flies wont get to it and the quadrupeds seem to not notice either. go down 6 inches and it is just as hot as a freshly turned, finely chopped, balanced pile.
Less work, hotter pile and no exposed "greens" to attract critters.
I have a relationship with a farmer that nets me a good free pig every year. I also have to control the deer on my seven acres of heaven, so that produces a couple of deer a year that get turned into jerky primarily. My mom raises grass fed organic beef, so that gets me all the steak and hamburger I want.
Effectively, I'm swimming in meat, and coon would be my last choice. Hopefully, it never gets that bad.
When I use to have huge compost piles (I use to have dairy goats, cows, chickens, sheep, and ducks), I actually composted cow heads, cow intestines and other assorted small dead animals or parts of animals with no issues. My compost piles were really large and had a lot of hay,straw, urine, manure, leaves etc. to balance out the chunks of protein. It might have attracted a few critters but my dog usually kept all at bay and I did not have a torn up compost pile. Usually, I had snakes in the pile in the winter, but not much of anything else. Never had any protein dragged out of the compost by any critters as I would bury it inside. The snakes liked the warmth and kept the mice out. I would not try this in a city garden. My compost pile would not be big enough in the city and it might annoy my neighbors. Worked fine in a large pile though.
May You Walk in Beauty,
Sharol Tilgner ND
Sharol's books available at website
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia (video)