Woman peeling potatoes in the kitchen next to the sink

A vivid memory of my grandma’s kitchen is a large, empty milk carton on her sink. She would put all of her coffee grinds, tea bags, and used cooking oil in it. In the 1960s, we used paper bags for garbage, and anything wet would soak through the paper.

It was a form of home composting familiar to anyone who lived through the late 19th and much of the 20th century. And it is a good idea for kitchen composting today.

Try placing a milk carton or a large recyclable container, such as a 32-ounce yogurt container, by the sink. While working in the kitchen, toss all of your tea leaves, coffee grounds, and eggshells in the carton. Include your fruit and vegetable peelings.

At this time of the year, you might not want to run out to the garden as often. And all of these compostables could be saved until you are ready to bring them out into the compost pile or drop-off point.

If you are worried about the smell of the compost in the house, you can keep your compost carton in the freezer and only take it out when you are going to add to it. I keep mine in the freezer. And ice crystals have the added benefit of breaking down the material to allow faster composting.

A lot of the practical, frugal actions from our past have use and value today. While Grandma Jennie would never have thought of using compost for her garden, the unavailability of plastic bags for her garbage forced her to come up with a solution that we can use today, even if for an entirely different reason.

Feature image courtesy of Sweetaholic, Pixabay

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.