Asked December 6, 2020, 6:03 PM EST

I am the RV host at Benton Oaks RV Park located on the Benton County Fairgrounds. We are owned and operated by Benton County. We were given a pretty large tumbling composter over a year ago and no one really knows how to use it. I have asked for it to be moved to my site and put it to use. We produce so much food waste living in rvs since there is such little space in our refrigerators and when we dump our dumpster in the compactor I notice how much is wasted that I believe is compostable. I just don't really know how to get started and all the do's and don'ts that go with it. We would really like to compost on a large scale eventually because we buy so much mulch and fertilizer to maintain our sites. If I can show that this is doable and sustainable it would go a long way to get us there. Is there anyone who would be willing to show me how to get it started?

Benton County Oregon

1 Response

Well - your question has come to the right person!

I, too, live in Benton County, and have 20+ years of experience with a tumbling composter, which I use principally for food waste.
  • Since food waste is wet, begin by filling the composter 2/3 full of something absorbent - in your case, spent stall bedding would be ideal. If the bedding includes urine and manure, so much the better. Other absorbent materials would include deciduous leaves and shredded office paper.
  • Add food waste as it is generated, and turn with each addition.
  • Because it is up off the ground, there is little concern about wildlife getting into it. At the same time, because air can circulate around the mass of material in the tumbler, I've not had success in getting mine to heat up. Heating hastens the composting process.
Personally, when the materials in the tumbler are very garbage-y and wet, I unload them into a stationary composter. I assume that Republic Services provides waste removal to the Fair Grounds. If so, why not see whether they won't issue you an Earth Machine composter? The compost can then be turned sufficiently to stabilize the readily compostable materials (food, manure, urine).

If you would like, once you have the tumbler set up and the residents have begun to deposit food scraps, I could pay a site visit and give you pointers on how to proceed.