Can You Compost Rice?

What can you do if you make too much rice and it goes bad? Can you compost it?

In my house, rice has always been a staple. Frequently, there is leftover cooked rice that I don’t know what to do with.

I don’t want to throw it out. So, is it compostable?

Compostable, But with a Caveat

Rice can be composted in a bin or pile, but it might be difficult to compost correctly.

If you’re just getting started with composting, it might not be the best food to use. When adding it to compost, it’s essential to proceed with caution.

But there is good news! Once you’ve read the following guidelines, you’ll know exactly what to do with leftover or ruined rice. Just do it in moderation.

Why Is It Tricky to Compost?

When rice is cooked, it becomes heavy and sticky. So, as you might expect, it can clump if introduced in excessive quantities. One of the essentials that every compost pile needs is oxygen. It promotes healthy microbial growth and prevents bad odors.

If too much cooked rice is added, or if it isn’t thoroughly mixed, inadequate airflow or anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions may result. This can result in a huge, stinking, sticky mess!

Cooked grains may also introduce hazardous bacteria if it is not destroyed quickly enough. This is certainly an issue that people are concerned about.  

Can Uncooked Grains Be Composted?

Although uncooked rice can be composted, significant amounts of uncooked rice will attract rodents and insects to the compost heap. If you have a hot pile, meaning it produces high temperatures, putting uncooked grains into the compost will be no problem.

Don’t compost raw rice if you’re worried about rodents and pests. Instead, add hydrated white rice to the compost bin to keep rodents away. Be careful not to overdo it because huge amounts could cause problems.

uncooked rice grains from in a cloth on  the table

How to Hot Compost Rice

The conventional method of composting is hot composting. The temperature of the pile can reach 150°F to 160°F using this procedure. The organic elements in the composting pile break down quickly at this temperature, and all hazardous germs are eliminated. It’s critical to maintain the compost well-aerated with oxygen.

For this reason, when you are composting it, it’s best to put it in the middle of the compost pile, where the temperature is highest. This aids in the destruction of dangerous bacteria and other infections.

Also, while putting it into the middle of the pile, try to mix and distribute it evenly throughout the pile. This way, it does not clump and you can ensure proper aeration. 

Make Sure to Turn Your Pile

One of the primary issues with rice in compost, as previously mentioned, is that it can become sticky and clump, cut off air circulation, and attract unpleasant rodents and bugs if it takes too long to decompose.

Many of these issues can be avoided by rotating your compost regularly. Regular turning is essential for any good compost, but it’s especially crucial when adding something more difficult to compost, such as rice. So, grab a pitchfork and get ready to mix! 

The more frequently you turn your compost, the faster the contents decompose. Turning compost can aid in a variety of ways:

  • Prevents the formation of clumps
  • Distributes moisture
  • Infuses oxygen (which enables microbes to thrive)
  • Accelerates the decomposition of troublesome components such as weeds or difficult-to-compost foods like rice
  • Prevents and gets rid of unpleasant odors
A man shoveling a composted soil in the backyard

Is It Considered Green or Brown Material?

Rice falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of green and brown composting ingredients. Cooked rice would undoubtedly be more on the “green” side, like a moist kitchen scrap, similar to an apple core. 

While it does not contain as much nitrogen as other kitchen wastes, it also does not contain as much carbon as a newspaper.

Can It Be Added to a Worm Bin?

It is an excellent addition to a worm bin since worms love rice and will consume it before it spoils or develops hazardous bacteria.

You can put both uncooked and cooked rice in the worm bin as long as it’s plain. Rice with oil or sauces will quickly go rancid in the bin and stink up the place. If it has any sauce, oil, or salt, wash it thoroughly before putting it in the worm bin.

Although the worms consume it quickly, it is advisable to only feed them enough to last for 2 to 3 days. If you have more than that, freeze it until you can add more to the bin.

Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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