In observance of President's Day, we are closed on Monday, February 19, 2024.

Discover the surprising benefits of composting cheese in our comprehensive guide. Turn cheese scraps into garden gold today!

In the vibrant world of composting, a question that often arises is, "can you compost cheese?" As a seasoned composter with two decades of experience under my belt, I find it essential to shed light on this topic. Composting cheese is not only a viable but a sustainable practice that warrants exploration and understanding. The nuances of cheese compostability are as rich and diverse as cheese itself. Journey with me as I unfold the vital information and tips you need to become a master in composting cheese, aiding both your garden and the environment.

Can You Compost Cheese?

Yes, it is indeed possible to compost cheese, transforming it from a kitchen leftover to a valuable component in your compost pile. Through appropriate composting methods, cheese can add substantial nutritional value to your soil, fostering a rich environment where your plants can thrive. It's a golden rule in sustainable composting practices to utilize organic wastes fully, and cheese can rightfully find its place in this cycle.

While the benefits are evident, composting cheese has its fair share of critics, often arising from a few commonly held concerns.

Firstly, the cheese composting process can attract pests due to its high-fat content and strong odor during decomposition. Secondly, the dense structure of cheese means it has a slower decomposition time compared to vegetable scraps, which can potentially delay the readiness of your compost pile for garden use.

Moreover, some individuals harbor fears of disease propagation through the pathogens present in cheese, especially the moldy varieties. It's a significant hurdle in promoting cheese compostability, alongside the simple unawareness of the correct composting techniques and the environmental benefits it brings.

Understanding these concerns and overcoming them through proper knowledge and techniques, which we will delve into later, can make cheese a viable addition to your compost, aiding in your efforts towards a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly composting routine.

The Science Behind Cheese Decomposition

As we venture deeper into the world of composting, understanding the lifecycle of cheese, from your plate to the compost pile, and eventually to nourishing your plants, is pivotal. Let's dissect the facts:

The science behind cheese decomposition

How Long Does it Take for Cheese to Decompose?

Typically, cheese takes longer to decompose compared to fruits and vegetable scraps, with the decomposition time ranging from several weeks to a few months. The process can indeed be a slow one, urging the need for patience and proper management to foster optimal cheese biodegradation in your compost heap.

Factors Affecting the Decomposition Rate

Several factors influence how fast cheese breaks down in a compost pile. The key elements include the cheese's moisture content, its fat content, and the conditions of the compost pile, such as temperature and microbial activity. Integrating methods such as Bokashi composting can potentially expedite the breakdown process, facilitating a quicker cheese decomposition time.

Is Cheese Biodegradable?

Yes, cheese is biodegradable. Despite its slow decomposition rate, with the right composting techniques, it can be broken down into simpler substances by microorganisms, aiding in the creation of a nutrient-rich soil enhancer, thus, embracing sustainable composting practices.

Is Cheese Wax Compostable?

Yes, cheese wax can be composted but with a caveat; it takes a considerably long time to break down fully. It is advisable to chop it into smaller pieces to expedite decomposition. Moreover, ensure that it is genuine cheese wax and not a plastic coating, which is non-biodegradable and should be disposed of separately to maintain sustainable composting practices.

Can You Compost Moldy Cheese?

Absolutely, moldy cheese can find a place in your apartment compost bin. Mold is a sign of decomposition already in process, hence incorporating it into your compost can even be beneficial. Ensure that your compost pile has a good mix of greens and browns to avoid unpleasant odors and to facilitate a balanced, healthy decomposition environment in line with optimal composting practices.

Can you compost moldy cheese

Can You Compost Cottage Cheese and Vegan Cheese?

Certainly! Both cottage and vegan cheeses are compostable. They break down similarly to other cheese types, adding valuable nutrients to your compost. However, with cottage cheese, being higher in moisture content, it is wise to balance it with dry, brown compostable materials to maintain the compost’s health and encourage beneficial microbial activity, fostering a fruitful composting process.

Can you compost cottage cheese

Can You Compost Cheese Cloth?

Indeed, cheese cloth, especially those made of natural fibers like cotton, can be composted. They add a good carbon source to your compost pile. Just ensure to cut them into smaller pieces to aid quicker decomposition, embracing a comprehensive approach to waste reduction through viable composting methods.

Can you compost cheese cloth

Can You Freeze Cheese Before Composting?

Yes, freezing cheese before composting is a practice that can help in reducing the strong odors associated with decomposing cheese. It is a savvy tip that many composting enthusiasts adopt to manage the sensory aspects of cheese composting better while ensuring a cleaner, more manageable process, thereby nurturing a successful composting environment.

When to Compost Cheese

Choosing the right time to compost cheese can often be a trial and error process. Generally, it’s best to add cheese to your compost pile during the active composting phase when the temperatures are high, facilitating quicker decomposition. However, through Bokashi composting or using an electric composter, you can integrate cheese into your compost regimen more flexibly, at different stages, fostering optimal compost health and functionality through informed composting decisions.

Step-by-step Guide: How to Compost Cheese Successfully

Tools and Materials Needed

Before embarking on your cheese composting journey, having the right tools is essential. You would need a well-structured compost bin, compost activator to speed up the decomposition process, and garden gloves for hygiene purposes. Collect your cheese scraps in a sealable container to prevent odor and pests. Equipping yourself with the right tools fosters a smooth and hassle-free cheese composting process, in line with sustainable composting practices.

Preparing Your Cheese for Composting

When it comes to cheese, smaller pieces decompose faster. Therefore, break down your cheese into smaller portions. For cheeses with high moisture content, pair them with browns like leaves or newspaper to maintain a balanced compost pile. Introducing microbes by adding a layer of existing compost can jump-start the decomposition process, allowing for a nutrient-rich soil enhancer at the end of the composting cycle.

Composting Methods

In the composting world, various methods can be employed to break down cheese effectively. Traditional composting, vermicomposting, and Bokashi composting are some options. Each method has its pros and cons, and understanding them will help you choose the best fit for your composting routine, taking a step further in your environmentally-friendly composting routine.

Hot Composting Bin

A hot composting bin accelerates the breakdown of cheese, utilizing high temperatures to foster microbial activity. To compost cheese using this method, intersperse layers of cheese with carbon-rich materials to maintain a balanced environment. Ensuring a regular turnover will prevent foul odors and promote a faster decomposition, facilitating a successful cheese biodegradation journey.

Bokashi Composting

Bokashi composting utilizes effective microorganisms to break down cheese and other organic matter anaerobically. In a Bokashi bin, add your cheese scraps and sprinkle Bokashi bran over it to initiate the fermentation process. This method is efficient and odorless, making it a favorite for composting cheese, promoting a fruitful composting process through innovative means.

Electric Composter

For tech-savvy composting enthusiasts, electric composters are a boon. These devices use heat and agitation to break down cheese and other organic matter in record time. Simply add your cheese scraps, and the composter does the rest, offering a hassle-free path to achieving nutrient-rich compost, thereby embracing modernity in sustainable composting practices.

Leveraging Cheese Compost as Fertilizer

Gardening enthusiasts will be delighted to learn that cheese, once seen as a challenging item to compost, can in fact turn into black gold for your garden soil, ushering in a new dimension in sustainable gardening practices.

Benefits of Using Composted Cheese as Fertilizer

Composted cheese is rich in nutrients that are essential for plant growth. Its calcium and protein content contribute to soil health, nurturing stronger, and healthier plants. Furthermore, it helps in improving soil structure, allowing for better water retention and fostering beneficial microbial activity, offering a rich foundation for a vibrant garden teeming with life, thereby epitomizing the core values of sustainable composting practices.

How to Use Cheese Compost in Your Garden

To use cheese compost in your garden, introduce it into your soil as a soil amendment or a top dressing for your plants. A thin layer of cheese compost can be spread over the soil surface to enrich it, allowing the nutrient-dense compost to gradually seep into the soil, nourishing the roots with its richness. Additionally, you can integrate it into your potting mix to give your potted plants a nourishing boost, effectively utilizing every bit of the compost, and taking a step closer to an environmentally-friendly composting routine.


Can I put dairy in my compost?

Yes, you can compost dairy products including cheese, but do it sparingly to avoid odor issues and to maintain a balanced compost pile.

What are 3 things you shouldn't compost?

Avoid composting dairy in large quantities, oily foods, and pet wastes as they can attract pests, produce unpleasant odors, and potentially introduce harmful pathogens into your compost.

Can I use moldy cheese in the compost?

Absolutely, moldy cheese is already decomposing, making it an excellent addition to your compost as it can help in breaking down other materials.

Is shredded cheese compostable?

Yes, shredded cheese can be composted. It breaks down faster than larger pieces, facilitating quicker decomposition in your compost pile.

Can butter be composted?

Technically yes, but it’s recommended to compost butter in small quantities as it has a high-fat content, which can slow down the composting process and attract pests.


In our deep dive into the world of composting, we've unraveled the truth behind the pivotal question: "can you compost cheese?" From the breakdown process of different types of cheese to leveraging it as a sustainable fertilizer, we've uncovered that cheese indeed holds a rightful place in the compost bin. As we close this comprehensive guide, we encourage you to take the step; introduce cheese into your compost routine and witness the transformative impact it can have on your garden. Start today, and foster a greener, more sustainable future!

Eunice is a sustainability writer whose passion is sharing accessible eco-friendly practices with GreenCitizen's global readership. She enjoys birdwatching during her downtime, often deriving inspiration from nature's resilience. An enthusiastic cyclist, she is also an ardent advocate of eco-friendly transport.

Subscribe to
our newsletter