The Soda That You'll Want To Add To Your Compost Heap

Cleaning up after your last party? Before you dump that flat bottle of Coca-Cola down the drain, take a stroll out to your garden and drizzle that syrupy liquid all over your compost heap. It might seem counterintuitive as many people have come to associate soda with the antithesis of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so while it will rot your teeth, the addition of soda to a compost pile will actually improve its overall health and have a greater impact on the life of your garden overall. 

Coca-Cola, or any super sugary soda with citric acid as an ingredient, when added to your compost pile, will expedite the breakdown of your discarded fruits and veggies. Steer away from diet colas, though, as they do not contain real sugar, and the effects may not be as potent. So before you toss the dregs of that flat bottle of Coke in your fridge, give your food scraps a taste as well.

How to add soda to your compost

Grab your favorite, or in this case perhaps least favorite, can of full-sugar cola from your refrigerator or pantry and head out back to that decaying pile of food scraps. Snap that tab open and drizzle the contents all over the top of your compost pile. Be sure to cover as much area across the top as possible so that the soda can seep down through the compost. 

Once you've finished emptying the can, gently turn over your compost a few times to spread the cola throughout the mix. In general, it's a good idea to turn your compost every few weeks to promote the breakdown of organic materials, allowing the center of the compost to heat up with beneficial bacteria in between turns. Feel free to return to your compost pile with more cola once a week to increase the sugar content of your heap.

Why it works

It's true that it might seem outlandish to dump a can of cola on your compost, but there are scientific reasons why this hack works so well. First, full-sugar colas like Coca-Cola or Pepsi contain a whopping 39 grams of sugar, the equivalent of 10 sugar cubes. While this amount of sugar will absolutely wreak havoc in your mouth and gut, at the same time, it will attract beneficial microorganisms to your compost pile that will expedite the composting process. One can a week can boost the health of your compost pile and, thus, the future health of the plants in your garden. 

In addition to the high sugar content, standard colas also contain citric acid. The citric acid in the beverage is also beneficial to your compost pile because the acid will aid in the decomposition of organic matter. So the next time you're stocking up on your soda for a party, grab another case to set aside just for your compost heap out back.