Collecting & Storing Organic Waste FAQ

What can I put in my Swell Well?

Great question! Probably more than you think. We’ve created a quick reference list for you and a handy cheat sheet for your fridge so you always know what to put in the bucket and what belongs in your trash. Check out our printable list of items you can compost in our Swell Wells. Our cheat sheet makes great refrigerator decor!

If you prefer not to print your list, we’ve also created a handy dandy interactive tool to help you remember what you can compost. Check out our Can I Compost…? tool for more details on what belongs in the compost bin and what belongs somewhere else.

What if one Swell Well isn’t enough for my needs?

Most of our customers have plenty of space in one Swell Well to hold all their food scraps over two weeks. However, if you need more space, we can always give you an extra bucket for a small fee. If you want to add an extra bucket to your membership for the foreseeable future (or just for a busy season, like the holidays), send us an email and we’ll get you set up.

Where should I keep my Swell Well?

You can keep it anywhere you’d like (we don’t judge), but we have a couple of suggestions that many of our customers like. You can keep the bucket in a kitchen cabinet (like under your sink), so it’s easy to access whenever you want to add food scraps.

You may also consider storing the bucket in your garage, on a balcony, or back porch. Then you can carry your food scraps to the bucket once a day or so or whenever you fill your countertop compost container if you have one.

No matter where you store it, be sure to keep the lid on tight when you’re not adding scraps to it. Animal friends might think it’s pretty swell too if you don’t keep a lid on it.

Won’t my kitchen stink if I collect food scraps?

It shouldn’t. The Swell Well buckets have tight lids that should prevent any smells from escaping into your kitchen (or wherever you store your bucket). If you’re having issues, just let us know. We can discuss several options that typically resolve any concerns.

Our founder has been composting for years and keeps her food scraps in a countertop food scrap bin in her kitchen for up to a week before composting. She’s a seasoned composter (who also regularly interviews everyday families who compost). She’s got a slew of ideas about how to keep food scraps from being smelly in your kitchen!

How should I store my food scraps between collection days?

Our customers store their food scraps in a variety of ways. Most customers store scraps in a smaller container in their kitchen and empty it daily or once every few days, depending on the type of container they use and the volume of food scraps they have. We sell ceramic and stainless steel countertop food scrap bins to customers and deliver them during our regular pick-up routes (email us for details).

However, you can also keep your Swell Well in a place that’s more easily accessible (like under your kitchen sink or in your garage) and bring food scraps out to your bucket right away.

We’ve shared a post with a whole lot more details about different ways to store your food scraps before putting them in your Swell Well and leaving them out for collection.

Do I need to use a liner in my Swell Well?

Yes. We require that customers use compostable liners in their buckets. We provide compostable liners free of charge to customers. We prefer brown paper bag liners, but green bioplastic liners work as well.

We require customers to use liners because it helps keep the buckets cleaner. We think this makes the composting experience better for you and for us, and it also helps the buckets last longer.

Do I need to clean my Swell Well?

Nope. We do that for you. Pretty sweet, right? It’s just one of the ways we try to make composting as easy and clean as possible.

How does composting make my kitchen cleaner?

So you’re saying you didn’t read our composting primer yet? No worries.

In short, composting significantly reduces the amount of trash you generate and makes your trash stink less.

People who compost typically see their trash volumes reduce drastically, often by as much or more than half. We’ve had many customers tell us that they reduced their landfill trash from 5-6 bags per week down to just one bag per week (even for families with kids). That’s a lot fewer trips to your garbage bin and a lot less trash sitting under your sink.

Composting also reduces smells in your trash can, even when you don’t have to empty your trash bag for several days.

Here’s the real deal. Composting has been happening in nature for millions of years. It’s nature’s recycling process.

When organic matter, like your food scraps, decomposes properly with enough carbon and oxygen, it turns into nutrient-rich humus, a substance that looks a lot like soil and is used to replenish nutrients in the soil. During this process, it actually smells earthy and even a little bit sweet.

In our trash (and in landfills), organic matter doesn’t have enough oxygen and carbon to decompose properly. As a result, those rotting food scraps release greenhouse gases into the air. It stinks, literally and figuratively. So really, those food scraps in your trash only smell because of all the other garbage preventing nature from breaking down the organic matter properly.

When we pick up your compostables and process them for you, they decompose with plenty of oxygen and carbon. Your trash doesn’t stink. You make less trash. And your organic waste becomes nutrients for the soil in our community.

Pretty stinkin’ neat right? If you dig it, sign up for our service!