Can You Compost Shrimp Shells?

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Quick Answer: Can You Compost Shrimp Shells?

Yes, you can compost shrimp shells as they add beneficial nutrients to the compost pile. It is preferable to crush or grind them into smaller pieces to speed up the decomposition process. Also, bury them in the center of the pile to avoid unwanted intruders to the compost pile. You may also cover the compost bin to prevent foul smell.

This is a useful guide on composting shrimp shells at home with ease.

Continue reading for more in-depth information!

Can You Compost Shrimp Shells?

Yes, you can compost shrimp shells but with certain precautions and in moderation. Both cooked and raw shrimp shells can go into the compost pile. They contribute key nutrients, including chitin, calcium carbonate, and nitrogen to the soil. But, they may create odor problems and attract pests.

It is preferable to boil them, grind or crush the shrimp shells into smaller bits before adding them to the compost pile. This will eliminate the odors from decomposing shrimps.

Also, bury them deep into the compost pile to prevent a pest invasion. You may also cover the top of the compost bin to reduce the smell.

You may compost the shells using the hot compost method for faster decomposition.

How To Compost Shrimp Shells With Ease?

Shrimp shells are green components and have to be balanced with brown components. Crushing them into smaller pieces will fasten the decomposition process. It may take at least a year to completely decompose the shrimp shells.

The different steps in composting shrimp shells are discussed below:

  • Collect the shrimp shells– Collect the shells after peeling shrimp in a bowl. You may include tails and heads. Simmer the shells for 20 to 30 minutes in the boiling water. Drain and toast them until dry to remove the fat from the shells. Crush the shells in a food processor or rolling pin. This helps in minimizing odor and speeding up the decomposition process.
  • Throw the shells into the compost pile– Dig a 12-inch hole in the existing compost pile. Bury crushed shrimp shells in the hole and cover the compost. Continue adding alternating layers of green and brown yard waste.
  • Maintain the pile– Turn the pile every month to provide aeration and reduce foul smell. You may wait until the following year to use the compost.

You may check this video for more information:

How To Compost Shrimp Shells In Hot Composting?

Hot composting generates internal temperatures of 105oF to 140oF to decompose shrimp shells faster. These piles produce compost in a few weeks.

Add crushed shrimp shells to the compost piles. Mix with other nitrogen-containing ingredients, including grass clippings, and carbon-containing ingredients, including dried leaves.

Cover them with 10 inches of compost.

Turn the pile regularly to keep the bacterial activity high. However, a home compost system will not be sufficient to generate heat.

You may try a commercial composting system.

What Are The Benefits Of Composting Shrimp Shells?

The exoskeleton of shrimp contains chitin, nitrogen, and calcium carbonate. It adds nutrients to the soil. They also play a special role in fighting nematodes. Calcium carbonate can help raise the pH levels in the compost if it is acidic.

Chitin also activates the natural defense mechanisms in plants. They help to ward off nematodes by providing food for the beneficial microbes that fight against garden pests. 

Rinse the sauce, seasonings, and oil. Grind into small pieces and incorporate them into the soil patch of potatoes.

Sprinkle with water, and chitin in the shrimp shells will fight nematodes.

Can You Throw Shrimp Shells In The Garbage Disposal?

No, do not throw shrimp shells in the garbage disposal. They may clog the drain when the shrimp peels are thrown in the garbage. Also, they may potentially repair the blades as the blades will not have the power to crush all the shrimp shells and cause buildup.

Also, they may become smelly when clogged.

They should be disposed of in other ways instead of garbage disposal. Do not flush the shrimp shells as the whole bathroom will smell bad.


Can you add shrimp shells to the worm bin?

Yes, shrimp shells may be fed to the worm bin but in moderation. It is preferable to crush the shrimp shells into smaller pieces before adding them to the worms. Also, add a tiny amount at a time to avoid creating a foul smell and attracting pests especially if the worm bin is outdoors.

How long does it take for shrimp shells to decompose?

The shrimp shells may take a few months to a year to decompose completely. The rate of decomposition depends on the type of compost system and the treatment of shells in the compost system. The tossing of whole raw shells may take at least a year to break down completely. Hot compost piles and crushing them will speed the decomposition.

What are the alternatives to composting shrimp shells?

The shrimp shells can be used to make shrimp stock or broth. Researchers are using shrimp waste to create sustainable nutritional supplements. Also, some researchers have discovered strong biodegradable plastic and batteries from the shells of shrimps.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this guide has thrown light on composting shrimp shells at home with ease. You may follow the tips on composting shells and reducing wastage.

Also, do let us know your experiences in composting them.