Composting at home is fairly straightforward, but can go wrong quickly, and your nose knows when the compost container isn’t working properly. A functioning compost pile should smell faintly like warm earth. There are several causes of foul-smelling compost, and several practical solutions.
Mark King is a compost expert with the division of solid waste management at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He said all stinky compost problems come down to “breakdowns in pile management,” largely due to neglect. “Many people read how easy it is to compost and tend to think you can just toss stuff into a pile and in 6 to 12 months you will have compost,” King said.
“This popular misconception has led to more than a few unhappy home owners who end up with a stinky offensive mess. However, provided with the proper technical support and educational outreach, they are able to turn things around, and happiness returns.”