Do you have a compost and are you wondering about compost grinders? In this article we’ll look at 9 compost grinder options, and hopefully one of them will be right for you.
We’ll look at:
- what does a compost grinder do
- compost grinders for food scraps
- yard waste compost grinder
This article contains affiliate links. If you click a link and buy something I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information please see the Disclosure page
Table of Contents
- 1 What does a compost grinder do?
- 2 9 Compost Grinder Options
- 3 Kitchen Food Scrap Compost Grinders
- 4 Yard Waste Chipper Shredders
What does a compost grinder do?
By putting your food waste and yard waste through a compost grinder first, it’ll break up the material into smaller pieces.
And according the US Environmental Protection Agency, a compost grinder increases the amount of surface area of the compostable material so that more microorganisms can access it and start to break it down. (It’s kind of like putting out more table settings so more people can sit down and eat the available food.)
The EPA also said that grinding, shredding or chipping the compostable material before you toss it into the compost creates a more uniform mixture which should help your compost pile maintain the correct temperature. So it’ll provide some insulation.
9 Compost Grinder Options
In this article we’re going to focus on compost grinders or compost shredders. So the devices that break the compostable material into smaller pieces.
We are not going to be looking at the compost bins themselves in this article.
What Kind of Grinders will we look at?
We’ll look at compost grinders that tackle two of the three things the EPA says we need for good compost.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that compost needs to have 3 things: brown matter, green matter and water.
The “brown” material is primarily yard waste like leaves and twigs.
The “green” material is primarily kitchen scraps like vegetable peels, fruit waste, but also grass clippings.
And water is to keep to the compost moist and provide a favorable environment for the microorganisms in the compost to survive and thrive.
In this article we’ll look at compost grinders that:
- can break down kitchen food scraps (aka the “green” material)
- compost grinders that can chip or shred yard waste (aka the “brown” material)
Kitchen Food Scrap Compost Grinders
In this section below we’ll highlight some compost grinders that will help shred and grind up your kitchen food scraps into smaller particle sizes. This will give you some “green” material for your compost bin.
1) Use your Current Food Processor
If you already have a food processor then you already have a compost grinder.
You may not want to use your usual food processor bowl for your kitchen scraps, so you can buy an extra, dedicated bowl and blade just for grinding food scraps.
2) DIY Compost Grinder using old sink and garburator
I discovered the video below on YouTube. The video host shows how he created a DIY compost grinder using and old kitchen sink and a garburator. (Helpful video, and I love the sounds around the 3 minute mark…sounds like an old horror movie.)
This won’t work for everyone, but if you have the space, this could be a cool idea.
3) Manual Fruit and Vegetable Grinder
This product by EJWOX is marketed as a fruit crusher so you can make your own juice.
But people use it has a compost grinder too. You put your food scraps, vegetable and garden waste into the hopper on the top, turn the handle to manually grind up the food and it comes out the bottom as a pulp.
You can place the grinder atop a bucket to make it easy to take out to your compost bin. Or perhaps put it above the compost bin itself.
This may be too big and bulky for the average home – at least to keep in your kitchen – but you could still make it work.
If you collected your kitchen scraps and then brought them outside or into the garage to grind into a pulp, then you wouldn’t need this device in your kitchen. It may work well for people that collect kitchen scraps from their neighbors too.
This is a well-rated product on Amazon with lots of reviews.
4) Use a Drill and a Jiffler Mixer attachment
I got this compost grinder idea from YouTube. (The video is below.)
The guy uses a drill attachment called a Jiffler mixer. This type of tool is used in construction to mix up stuff like drywall mud.
The man from the “Back 2 Organics” channel has added some bolts and nuts to the bottom blade to help grind up the compost.
As some YouTube commenters mentioned, you won’t want to do this in a plastic bucket though because you’ll be getting microplastics into your compost mix.
So you may want to get a food-grade metal bucket. (There are stainless steel buckets available that might work for this.)
5) Vitamix Foodcycler FC-50 (dries and grinds food scraps)
This product is made by Vitamix – the company renowned for making powerful food processors. So they’re known for making products that can grind and blend.
Their Foodcycler FC-50 is a unique product that doesn’t just grind up food scraps, but it dries them out too. It utilizes carbon filters to cut down on smells.
It comes with a collection bucket that you can keep on your kitchen counter and you’ll toss your food scraps into this bucket. The lid of the bucket has a carbon filter to minimize odors.
Then when you’ve collected enough food scraps you insert the collection bucket into the Foodcycler, put on the locking lid, turn it on, and over a process of several hours it’ll dry and quietly grind your food scraps into flaky pieces that take up less space than the “unprocessed” food scraps.
They claim you can take the finished, dried product and add it to your garden soil as a soil amendment. And the bucket can be put in the dishwasher to wash it.
BUT Who is this for?
To be honest, I don’t think this product would benefit someone who is already composting.
Yes it reduces volume so you have less physical scraps, and they say it can be used as fertilizer, but a compost pile needs moisture, so why dry it first? (Remember the EPA said water is one of the essentials of a compost pile.)
I think the Foodcycler is targeted towards people that do not have a compost pile, and who want a no-smell option to dispose of their food scraps. I bet people living in an apartment or condo would like this option. Vitamix says the dried chunks can be added directly to garden soil. So patio gardeners could add the dried scraps to the soil of their potted plants.
And the replacement carbon filters can be expensive.
It will keep food scraps out of the landfill, but it doesn’t seem like a good choice for a person that already composts.
Yard Waste Chipper Shredders
In this section we’ll look at some chipper/shredders that you could use to help with your “brown” compost matter such as fallen leaves and twigs.
What to do with fallen leaves?
Last fall after watching the “Kiss the Ground” documentary I realized how silly it was for me to be removing all the leaves and other organic matter from my yard. Previously I raked up the leaves, put some in my compost bin, but most of them got picked up on our city’s yard waste collection day.
Why not keep this organic material in my yard and try to build up my soil? So I bought an electric yard waste chipper shredder. I bought the one shown below from a company called Yardworks.
But I hated it.
It didn’t work well. It would clog easily and get bogged down on tiny twigs. So I returned it.
It was an electric model, and I’m sure a more powerful gas chipper would work better, but if I’m trying to be eco-friendly, buying a gas version didn’t really add up. (Though renting one occasionally may be appropriate for you…see #9 on this list.)
6) What I did instead was so simple – use a mulching lawn mower
Instead of getting another chipper/shredder I just mowed over the fallen leaves with my electric lawn mower. I did several passes to get the debris nice and small.
I left a lot of this leaf matter on the yard in an attempt to increase the amount of organic, carbon-containing material on my yard.
I don’t have, nor strive for, a nice grassy lawn and this is partly because I don’t have adequate soil for a lawn to grow. Sure I could get the grass to grow, but it would take lots of water and probably help from added fertilizers.
So using a lawn mower is a good way to mulch fallen leaves. Obviously it won’t work for sticks or branches. For that you’d need to buy a dedicated wood chipper. (Some of which I highlight farther below.)
7) Worx WG430 Electric Leaf Mulcher
If you don’t have a mulching lawn mower, you could get a dedicated leaf mulcher like the Worx WG430.
It has a blade-less design that uses trimmer lines (like a weed whacker does) to shred the leaves.
You feed the leaves in through the top and the chopped up leaf debris comes out the bottom.
You could collect this carbon-rich material, set it aside and then add it to your compost to balance out nitrogen-rich food scraps as needed. This Worx product has a 13-amp electric motor.
8) Sun Joe Chipper (CJ603E)
This electric Sun Joe chipper has a 15-amp motor that can chip branches up to 1.7-inches in diameter.
They claim it has a 21:1 reduction ratio.
I personally haven’t used this wood chipper, but it does have positive reviews on Amazon.
These machines are not intended for mulching leaves…they are for chipping twigs and branches.
So if your yard waste is comprised of lots of twigs and branches, you can check out this electric wood chipper to grind up some “brown” compost material and create your own mulch.
9) Rent a Wood Chipper
If you have a large amount of woody yard waste such as branches and sticks then you may want to rent a high-powered wood chipper once a year. Renting one will eliminate the need to pay for maintenance and upkeep.
The wood chipper that you rent will likely be gas-powered. This isn’t the best if you’re trying to lower fossil fuel emissions, so hopefully you can get all the chipping done quickly and efficiently and not have to run the engine for long.
Thank you and I hope at least one of these compost grinder ideas will work for you.
Grinding up kitchen food scraps like vegetable peels isn’t essential but increasing the surface area by breaking it down into smaller pieces should help speed up your compost.
And by composting your yard waste and scraps you are keeping them out of the landfill. And as you probably know, organic matter rotting in a landfill under anaerobic conditions (so little to no oxygen) can result in lots of methane production. (Reference: EPA)
And methane is a more potent greenhouse gas molecule than Carbon Dioxide.
So by diverting your food scraps to a good compost pile instead of the landfill you are helping to lower Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
15 sustainable, Green Kitchen Swaps we can all make