Composting part two – what do I compost?

Once you are ready to start composting, one of the first things you need to know is what type food waste can be composted and what can (or should) not.

Compost by shadamai


Good compost material:

  • Fruit & vegetables – you can compost any part of your fruit and veggie waste – the peels, pits, stems, cores – even those tomatoes you find rotting in the bottom of your crisper because you bought more than you could use.
  • Egg Shells – egg shells are great but not the actual eggs.
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds – including the paper filter if you use one.
  • Yard waste – cut grass, flower stems, leaves, almost any yard waste can be composted.
    Biodegradable bags, cups, plates, etc. – there are a variety of corn-based bags that can make collecting your compostable food easier and safer. They are fully biodegradable and compostable too – no plastic!
  • Straw – straw is a good material for helping to keep a compost pile aerated, because it creates passageways for air to get into the pile. Be sure that the straw gets wet though as it is very slow to decompose otherwise.


What not to compost:

  • Meat (including bones) or dairy – Although they will eventually biodegrade, animal products should generally not be composted in backyard composters. These materials smell and are more attractive to pests so you are better off without them.
  • Animal waste – though there are special composting bins just for this, more on that in my next post.
  • Diseased plants & pernicious weeds – believe it or not, certain weeds can actually grow in your compost pile. If you are going to compost them, make sure they are dried out first so they can’t reproduce in your composter.
  • Very large yard clippings – I keep large branches and clippings out of my home composter because they just take a long time to break down. If you have a compost bin for yard clipping through waste management though, be sure to put that material in here. It’s more suitable for a commercial composting environment.


Now that you know what types of food waste you can compost, my next post will outline the various types of compost bins and systems available – systems that make it easy and economical for you to get started composting today.



Learn more about Allison. You can find her on twitter ocgreenmama.

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