I have a compost pile but it's not in my home, and I need to store the kitchen scraps temporarily somewhere. I use a small plastic bin for that purpose. I don't have any brown materials, only nitrogen-rich materials. When I open the bin, it has a sharp and strong odor - it's not like rotten eggs, it's different. I don't know what this gas is, but is it safe? I hope the bin doesn't explode! The bin is very small and it's sealed (of course), it's about 40x30cm (~1x1 feet).

  • Never heard of sealed compost exploding but this source claims it can. bayweekly.com/articles/bay-gardener-dr-francis-gouin/article/… I don't know if they mean explode as a fireball or just pop open violently from the build up of gas though. Sealed compost in general isn't a good idea. You should have access to ample browns in your kitchen. Paper towels, coffee filters, etc. May 15, 2015 at 14:50
  • I'm not using the bin for composting, just to store the kitchen scraps temporarily there. The compost pile is not located in my home.
    – user11323
    May 15, 2015 at 14:57
  • The compost process starts on it's own. You can't really control it. How often do you empty the container into the bin? May 15, 2015 at 15:29
  • Not sure what do you mean by "empty the container into the bin". What container? English is not my native language, maybe i'm missing something. I empty the bin once per week, i think that's what you're asking.
    – user11323
    May 15, 2015 at 15:41

1 Answer 1


Well, you'd have to come up with the spark and the oxygen to get an "explosion", but you certainly can generate methane that way - however, if you don't leave it for long periods that seems HIGHLY unlikely.

Take the compost materials out to the actual compost on a regular basis, like daily.

Having the top pop off by itself to relieve gas pressure would be a sign that you need to take it out more often than you are. If you had a spark or a candle just in the right spot at that moment, I suppose you might manage ignition.

If it's really well sealed you could store it in the refrigerator or freezer and that would pretty much eliminate the possibility, as the methane bacteria like it warm and anaerobic. But you want a near-perfect seal or you risk tainting your food. Not using a tightly sealed container solves the issue by keeping it aerobic.

  • I can't take the compost materials out to the pile everyday. I can do that once per week. From now on i'll keep the bin slightly opened to allow air into it. I also put some soil into it from time to time. Hopefully that will reduce the production of methane or whatever gas it is...
    – user11323
    May 15, 2015 at 15:46

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