Can You Compost Shrimp Shells: Best Wastage Uses

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Last Updated on March 4, 2023

Today, we’re going to be answering the question: can you compost shrimp shells? There is a standard procedure for composting shrimp shells. Shrimp shells are fully compostable. This means that shrimp shells can be turned to compost whether they are raw or cooked.

The shells will ordinarily decompose when they are allowed to be broken down by microorganisms into organic compost.

Composting shrimp shells is important as the compounds got from this process are highly beneficial to the soil. This article gives you an idea of what to do when composting shrimp shells.

How to go about the composting process and the best temperature for this are also discussed herein. Before we go into the composting process for shrimp shells, let’s understand what composting means.

Thereafter, this question will be answered: can you compost shrimp shells?

Meaning of Composting

Composting is the process of collecting and storing plant material so it can decay. This decayed substance is known as compost. When added to the soil, it helps to greatly improve soil quality.

Composting is therefore a process of utilizing plant material that ordinarily would have been considered waste.

Items Required to Compost Shrimp Shells

For the composting process to be successfully carried out, the following items are required: shrimp shells, compost piles, compost bucket, shovel, green yard waste, brown yard waste, and kitchen scraps. All of these items can be turned into compost and added to the soil to improve the quality.

Shrimp shells are useful when making compost because they contain relevant compounds to the composting process. These compounds feed bacteria and fungi in the soil, which in turn, helps break down the soil.

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Steps on Composting Shrimp Shells

If you are interested in making compost from shrimp shells, you must endeavor to follow the following steps:

Step 1. Collect shrimp shells

If you are interested in making compost from shrimp shells, then do the following. Shrimp shells can be collected from peeled shrimp in a compost bucket or bowl. You can include the tails and heads of the shells collected. This bucket should have an air-tight lid. Shrimp shells should be simmered in boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes and oven-dried to remove fat from the shells. Too much fat will result in a serious smell of the compost.

Step 2. Digging

The second step in the process involves digging a 12-inch hole in your existing compost pile. A shovel should be used when doing this to ensure that the hole is deep as possible to contain the shells.

Step 3. Put the shrimp shells in a hole

After digging the required hole, you should place the collected shrimp shells in the hole. After doing this, the hole should be covered with some of the compost you removed while making the hole.

Put The Shrimp Shells In Hole

Step 4. Continuous addition of green and brown waste

You should continue to add both green and brown waste alongside kitchen waste to the pile.

Step 5. Turning of compost

For the best possible result to be achieved, the shrimp compost should be turned every month with a shovel. This should be done to allow for sufficient oxygen to the microbes.

The decomposition usually produces heat and turning will help reduce this. You can use a compost thermometer to measure the internal temperature and regulate the same. It should be from 140 to 160 degrees.

Step 6. Add water to compost

Microbes usually need water to survive. Failure to add sufficient water to the pile may lead to the death of microbes. This will ultimately result in the compost pile heating up. Be careful however not to add too much water. This will likely turn your compost into a slimy mess and decomposition will halt. It shouldn’t thus be too wet or too dry.

Step 7. Allow the compost to season

You should allow the shrimp compost to remain in the hole for at least a year. After a year has elapsed, you may then use the compost in your garden or farm.

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Reasons for Composting Shrimp Shells

You already understand that composting is the method of adding organic material to a compost pile. Composting, therefore, is one way of saving organic waste from reaching landfills.

Asides from this, composting is a method of creating rich organic materials which are useful to your farm or garden.

One advantage of using shrimp shells for composting is that they break down fast. This is so because they are very thin, unlike other shell animals.

Material to Exclude From Your Compost

There are a few materials that should not be added to your compost pile. These items should be excluded as they can easily attract unwanted pests and animals to the pile. These items may also be very toxic. Some toxic materials that should not be included include wood chips coated with paint, ink, chemicals, and fecal matter.

Also, you should not include plants that were likely infected with pests or diseases in the pile. Furthermore, weeds pulled out from the ground should not be included in the compost pile. These infected plants and weeds may be very toxic to the composting process. It is, therefore, best for you to avoid including them.

Using Shrimp Shells Compost as Fertilizers

Because shrimp shells are good for preparing compost, you may wonder if they can be used as fertilizers. The answer is in the affirmative.

Shrimp shells can be used as fertilizers because they contain chitin compounds. This compound slowly adds nitrogen to your soil in a very non-toxic method.

So if you are interested in growing a plant that has a huge nitrogen requirement, shrimp shells may be used as fertilizers.

In addition, shrimp shells usually contain a sufficient amount of calcium carbonate. They can therefore be a good source of calcium for the soil. This means that plants like pear, citrus, lettuce, apple, etc. will benefit from this.

When shrimp shells are used as fertilizers, they get grounded or crushed before being applied to the soil. By doing so, the nutrients contained in the shell are easily absorbed by the soil.

How to Stop Your Shrimp Shells From Smelling?

One thing’s for sure – shrimp shells can smell. And it’s not the kind of smell that you want lingering in your garden, so it’s understanding why you’re worrying about the smell of decomposing shrimp in your garden! This is why you must manage the smell before you even start to compost it. Let’s take a closer look at some tips to stop that awful odor.

While it’s tempting to just add the shrimp shells as they are, we would highly recommend not doing this. When you’re ready to compost your shells, simply place them in boiling water. Boil for around 20 minutes. Then remove them from the water, strain them, and leave them to dry until ready to use.

Another method you can use is to bake your shrimp shells in the oven. After time in the oven, it’ll be easy to grind down your shrimp shells in a blender or food processor (or simply in a bag with a rolling pin!). Once your ground shrimp shells are ready, you can add them to your compost and they’ll definitely be no lingering odor from this method!

Using Shrimp Shells Compost As Fertilizers

Shrimp Shell Nutrition

Shrimp shells are often overlooked and underrated. While they may not seem appealing, they can be full of protein and minerals. You may be wondering what the nutrition is of a shell on shrimp. One serving of shell-on shrimp contains the following:

  • calories: 80
  • protein: 16g
  • fat: 1.5g
  • cholesterol: 165mg
  • iron: 0.4mg
  • calcium: 100mg
  • sodium: 840mg

Shrimp Shell Waste Uses

There are many uses for your shrimp shell waste. In fact, in recent years, shrimp waste has been used for several reasons. This is because shrimp shell waste contains many compounds which are useful to many aspects of our lives. The compounds include chitin and pigments. Such compounds are used in a range of areas, such as medical, cosmetics, biotech, and even textiles!

While you’ll be unable to do any of those things from the comfort of your home, you can obviously also use your shrimp shell waste for compost, or one of my other favorite uses is making shrimp stock. They’re typically full of flavor and whatever seafood course you’re making, the shrimp shell waste will complement.

To make a shrimp shell stock, all you need to do is add the shells to a pan of cold water and add some seasoning of your choice, if preferred; such as herbs or peppercorns. Heat over medium heat and leave to boil uncovered for around 15 minutes. At this point, the stock should have changed color and you can simply strain the shells away and add the stock, as needed, to your seafood dishes.

There are many uses of shrimp shell waste in everyday life; even in your kitchen and garden!

Final Note: Can You Compost Shrimp Shells?

I hope this post has helped to answer the question: can you compost shrimp shells? Shrimp shells as we have seen above are great for preparing compost. The right procedure must however be followed by you in composting shrimp shells. Following the above will definitely help you attain your desired goal of preparing shrimp compost.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to composting shrimp shells? If so, please feel free to let us know in the comments below. And remember, sharing is caring! 

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Can I put shrimp shells in my compost pile?

Shrimp shells are a valuable resource. They’re an excellent source of calcium and phosphorous, which are both needed for plant growth. You can use them to fertilize your garden or plant them in a flower bed. But if you’re adding them to your compost bin, you’ll need to do a little pre-composting first. The first step is to remove the hard outer shell. You can do this with a hammer and chisel, but a more convenient method is to use an electric grinder. This method will make sure you get every last bit of the shell out of the shrimp. Next, shred the soft parts of the shrimp by hand. You don’t have to be too careful here, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t forget to save the shells for the next step! You can now put the shrimp shells into a compost bin or pile, where they will decompose over time. Make sure to check on the progress regularly, as the process can take up to 6 months to complete. 1. Mix the Shrimp Shells with the Other Ingredients You’ll want to add the shrimp shells to your soil at a rate of about 25% of the total amount of other ingredients. If you don’t have any extra, you can also buy a bag of pre-mixed organic compost. 2. Add the Compost to Your Garden Once you have the shrimp shells mixed in with the other ingredients, you’ll want to start adding them to your garden. You can start by spreading them out on a flat surface, then adding more to the center of your garden. This is because the bacteria in the compost will quickly work to break down the shell particles, which will help it be easier for you to add it to your garden. 3. Monitor Your Garden When it comes to composting, it’s important to keep an eye on it to make sure the process continues to run smoothly. The best way to do this is to check on it regularly, as you’ll want to see if there’s any noticeable change in color or smell. If there is, you may want to take a closer look at the reason why. For example, if the compost has become very dark or wet, this could mean that the worms have died or that the process has stopped altogether. Either way, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

How long does shrimp shell take to decompose?

The answer depends on the amount of calcium carbonate present in the shell, as well as the temperature. If there is little calcium carbonate in the shell, then it can be broken down within a few weeks. However, if there is more calcium carbonate in the shell, then it takes much longer.

Is it OK to put prawn shells in compost?

Yes, this is fine.

You can use them in your compost bin. They will not harm your plants, but will break down over time, adding nutrients to the soil. It will take longer than other materials such as straw or wood chips.

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