Can You Compost Chicken Bones?

Can You Compost Chicken Bones?

What do chicken rice, chicken curry, curry noodles, butter chicken and chicken rendang all have in common? Besides being highly-favoured dishes among Malaysians, they all share another thing in common: chicken! In Malaysia, food is a deeply-woven part of our cultures and livelihood. Many social events, family gatherings and even festivals are highlighted by the dishes we serve, many of which often contain - you guessed it! Chicken. Because of this, it’s important to understand if (and how) we can get rid of our chicken leftovers in an environmentally friendly way. 

We personally love composting, and believe it to be one of the best ways to save the environment by tweaking our own habits. A lot of the leftovers from the chickens we don’t eat end up in landfills and become contributors to the methane that’s trapping heat in our atmosphere. Composting these leftovers would be ideal in order to reduce the harmful effects on the environment, but….can you compost chicken bones to begin with? 

Can You Compost Chicken Bones?

If you wanna get really technical, the answer is at worst, no, and at best…kind of. While most foods are compostable, chicken bones are quite thick in diameter and hard in structure, making them extremely difficult (read: borderline impossible) to compost. That being said, there are some ways you can “compost” chicken bones to change their texture and make them easier to dispose of.

While heat/drying type composters claim to be able to compost chicken bones, they commonly only grind said food waste into dust, leaving you with an end result of dehydrated powder. If you're looking to simply change the form of your food waste into dust without finding your compost's nutrient value to be too important, this process would be just fine for your food waste. However, unlike composters like Reencle that produce nutrient-rich compost, there aren't many usable nutrients in the dehydrated powder "compost" end-products. Reencle turns food waste into real, nutrient-rich compost. However, since this is achieved through a process of decomposition and fermentation, Reencle will not be able to compost bones, as it does not contain heavy grinders nor does it use heat. 

Some methods of composting that “technically” work include Bokashi buckets and hot composting. 

Bokashi Buckets/Bins

The way bokashi bins work is similar to Reencle, except without the decomposition process used by Reencle. Bokashi uses a special inoculated bran that ferments your food waste, which is why it’s able to compost most food types, including chicken bones. 

Hot Composting

Hot composting is ideal for composting hard chicken bones, as its process ensures that microbial activity in the compost pile is optimized, which then results in much faster compost. 

The downside is that hot composting requires special equipment and has a learning curve that includes the need for a lot of time and diligence. 

All that being said, can you compost chicken bones? Yes - within its own restrictions. Every method of composting has downsides and limitations of its own, so it’s important to find what works best for you. Are you new to composting? Check out our Brief Introduction to Composting!

If you’d like to begin your composting journey in a hassle-free, time-saving and convenient way, check Reencle Prime out. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a special promo code and save RM400 on your first Reencle order. Join us in our journey to reduce food waste and follow us on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for regular content about composting and the environment.

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