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Homeowner concocts scheme to defy HOA's heavy-handed trash disposal rules: 'That's what HOAs really care about'

Love them or hate them, homeowners associations (HOAs) are growing nationwide.

Love them or hate them, homeowners associations (HOAs) are growing nationwide.

Photo Credit: u/TheGodDamnedPope / Reddit

In the subreddit r/composting, one Redditor looked for help after their homeowners association tried to prevent them from making gardening gold.

"HOA says I can't have an open-air compost pile, will this work instead?" the user wrote in reference to a metal garbage can.

While some suggest it's the HOA that should be sent to the trash, others offer great advice for a compost solution that may fit the standards.

🗣️ If you compost your food scraps, what's your primary motivation?

🔘 Improving my garden's soil 🌱

🔘 Saving money on fertilizer 💰

🔘 Helping the planet 🌎

🔘 I don't compost 🚫

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

Love them or hate them, homeowners associations (HOAs) are growing nationwide. Between 2011 and 2021, the percentage of newly built homes that rolled up under an HOA increased from 49% to nearly 70%.

When you need them, they're great. For a monthly or annual fee, HOAs can mediate issues between neighbors, help ensure the neighborhood looks new and tidy, and may even provide services (like snow plowing) or amenities (like a community center).

Yet, not everyone is a fan. HOAs may stop you from renting your home, can be costly, and may have stern rules about what you can and can't do, particularly to the outside of your house.

Compost advice

To start, the advice for the original poster was unanimous: Don't use a metal can. Fellow Redditors suggested that the can may rust, metals may leach into otherwise healthy and organic soil, and the lack of aeration would mean the compost will take a long time to break down.

We've summarized our favorite takeaways from the comments with a few helpful approaches:

  1. Hot bins are awesome, small, completely enclosed, and astonishingly effective, yet notably more expensive than other options.

  2. Worm bins can be quite small, work well, and as a bonus, you get to see the lifecycle of your compost in action as the worms break it down. The recommendation is for a system with multiple trays rather than a single container.

  3. Tumblers are enclosed bins on an axis that you turn to tumble the contents. They're sealed and rodent-proof, making them a reliable option if raccoons roam your yard.

Other Redditors rallied for HOA-friendly composting.

"Look into bokashi composting! It's anaerobic!" writes one user.

"It might be worth it to build something out of wood and paint it to look nice," suggests another. "That's what HOAs really care about, after all. This sub has photos of some awesome ones."

"I use the Enviroworld bin, and it's been working out great," adds a third. 

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