100 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Can Compost

In DIY Garden, DIY Home, Do it yourself, Tips and Tricks by Jamie Vos0 Comments


Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Can Compost

Anybody that has a composting bin or compost pile at their house knows that old apple cores, banana peels and potato skins can be composted. But many people who compost at home are unaware of the sheer vastness of every day waste that can easily be thrown in their compost bin.Stuff You Can Compost

For example, did you know that you can compost an old tea bag? Old spices? Pencil shavings? How about sticky notes? Yes, each of those items can be composted!

In fact, there are many items that you can compost, and the following list will get you started with the first ninety-nine. And the best news? If everyone began to compost at home on a regular basis, the world’s landfills would be drastically reduced.

The basics of composting are simple. Almost anything natural or plant-based can be composted; just don’t add meat or a lot of fat, because as they decompose, they will create a smell that will bring every critter for miles to your yard!

Always remember that an effective compost pile is a careful balance of dry or brown things that contain carbon (like leaves or paper) and wet or green things that contain nitrogen (like food scraps or rabbit droppings). So, for example, if you add a lot of shredded paper or cardboard to the pile, you will need to balance it with a nice heap of fresh grass clippings or horse manure, and probably some water from the hose so things don’t get too dry.

And, don’t forget that the smaller you can shred or chop your compostable items before you put them into the pile, the faster and more evenly they will decompose. It’s really worth the extra effort to chop and shred if you plan to use your compost for vegetable gardening, or, simply compost tough, slow things like tree branches and old rope in a separate pile.

The following list is meant to get you thinking about your compost possibilities. Imagine how much trash we could prevent from going into the landfills if each of us just decided to compost a few more things!


The Basics:

  1. All organic vegetable and fruit matter including rinds, skins, shells, seeds, cores and peels
  2. Old leaves & hay
  3. Used coffee grounds
  4. Paper coffee filters
  5. Grass clippings
  6. Egg shells

Unique Every Day Items

  1. Tea bags
  2. Peat moss
  3. Tree bark
  4. Old flowers
  5. Garden soil
  6. Old top soil
  7. Old bread
  8. Wheat bran
  9. Cooked grains
  10. Olive pits
  11. Pencil shavings
  12. Dust bunnies
  13. Toothpicks
  14. Business cards (Paper)
  15. Natural wine corks
  16. Toilet paper rolls
  17. Wrapping paper rolls
  18. Old loose leaf tea leaves
  19. Dried brown garden weeds (avoid composting weeds that go to seed)
  20. Spices and herbs that have lost their smell
  21. Nut shells (except walnut shells, which contain a chemical that can be toxic to plants)
  22. Wood chips and sawdust
  23. Soy products
  24. Wine and beer-making wastes
  25. Old dry cereals, crackers, chips, cookies, etc.
  26. 100% cotton swabs and Q-tips (do not compost plastic sticks)
  27. Wood fire ashes from grill or fire-place (also from smoking fish and other meats)
  28. Dirt in soles of shoes
  29. Facial tissues (unless soiled with chemical products)
  30. Old milk, ice cream, cream, etc. (in limited amounts)
  31. 100% cotton clothing (ripped into small pieces)
  32. 100% wool clothing (ripped into small pieces)
  33. Raffia decorations
  34. Crepe paper streamers
  35. Broken-down cereal boxes
  36. Natural wreaths, garlands and other natural holiday decor
  37. Chopped up Christmas trees
  38. Used Fabric sheets from the dryer

Non-Organic Compostable Items

  1. Paper bags (ripped into smaller pieces)
  2. Old Post-it Notes
  3. Any form of paper that has been soiled by food
  4. Pizza boxes (make sure to break them down into small pieces)
  5. Shredded newspapers
  6. Used paper plates without wax coatings
  7. Old mail and bills (make sure not to compost envelopes with the plastic windows)
  8. Paper or wood-based matches
  9. Animal manure and droppings
  10. Paper towels and towel rolls
  11. Leather belts, shoes, wallets, gloves (best if the leather is fairly old, as it will degrade slowly)
  12. Elmer’s glue
  13. Used masking tape
  14. Jell-O (gelatin)
  15. Paper muffin and cupcake cups
  16. Cage cleanings from small pets such as Guinea pigs, rabbits, birds and iguanas
  17. Labels
  18. Price tags
  19. Stale candy (remove wrapper, of course!)
  20. Cardboard and paper egg cartons
  21. Cardboard tampon applicators
  22. The boxes that surround many forms of cheeses
  23. Pure cellophane bags
  24. Paper Envelopes from your mail (Shredded up)
  25. Shredded catalogs and magazines (unless they have a very waxy cover)
  26. Chewing gum

Weird Stuff You Can Compost

  1. Feathers
  2. Old rope
  3. Stale catnip
  4. Dryer lint
  5. Dead houseplants
  6. Star fish (dead)
  7. Old Halloween pumpkins
  8. Electric razor trimmings
  9. Finger and toe nail clippings
  10. Hair – Both human and animal hair is compostable
  11. Ground bone and blood meal
  12. Old rawhide dog chews
  13. Old dog/cat foods
  14. Small pets that have died, like goldfish (Not recommended, but possible.)
  15. Urine (although can be quite smelly in the summer sun)
  16. Old cheeses
  17. Latex condoms and balloons
  18. Old beer, wine and liquor
  19. Crustacean shells (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.)
  20. Tobacco wastes
  21. Bamboo products
  22. Old fish food
  23. Sheepskin condoms
  24. Shower loofahs (made from natural materials, such as sea sponge)
  25. Vacuum cleaner bag waste
  26. Granite dust
  27. Dolomite lime
  28. Liquid from canned fruits and vegetables
  29. Pure soap scraps


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