Materials You Can And Should Not Compost

Materials You Can And Should Not Compost

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When it comes to composting, there are materials you can add to your compost pile and there are stuff you should avoid ever adding to it. And then there are also materials you can only add to your compost pile if you have the right skill.

The following are lists of materials you can add to your compost pile as well as materials you should avoid including. Some of these materials can be bulky so shred or chop them before adding to the pile so they are easier to break down.

Materials You Can Compost

Nitrogen-rich materials (greens):

  • Apple pomace
  • Clover
  • Cotton Bur
  • Dog food
  • Feathers
  • Fruit peels (except limes)
  • Hair
  • Leather and leather waste
  • Vegetable peels and scraps
  • Manure from herbivores such as cow, chicken, sheep, pig, horse, and rabbit.
  • Hay
  • Green Grass clippings
  • Flowers
  • Eelgrass
  • Cowpeas
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Banana peels
  • Algae, seaweed and lake moss

Carbon rich materials (browns):

  • Leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Hops
  • Dried Grass clippings
  • Dryer lint
  • Cocoa hulls
  • Cardboard
  • Alfalfa meal and hay
  • Paper
  • Oat straw
  • Peat moss
  • Tea leaves
  • Buckwheat straw or hulls
  • Unused cat litter
  • Cornstalks, corn cobs
  • Grape pomace
  • Hedge Clippings
  • Kelp (seaweed)
  • Newspaper
  • Oak leaves
  • Sawdust and wood shavings
  • Peanut hulls
  • Pine needles and cones
  • Vetch
  • Wheat straw

Neutral:

  • Wood ashes, not coal
  • Kitchen rinse water and beverages to keep pile moist; don’t overdo it though
  • Crushed egg shells

What You Can Compost If You Have The Right Skill

  • Weeds – these are rich in nitrogen but adding them has the risk of spreading the seed. If you want to add them to your compost pile, dry them out until they are crunchy.
  • Plants infected with disease – add only if your compost pile has a temperature of at least 135 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) for a few days. The heat will kill the disease. This material can add nitrogen to your pile.
  • Bird droppings – nitrogen rich but may contain weed seeds or disease.
  • Cheese, milk, yogurt – a neutral material but may attract pests when added to the compost pile. You can put it deep into the pile though.
  • Sod – this nitrogen rich material should be added to the compost pile when it gets hot enough to keep the grass from growing in the compost.

What You Should NEVER Compost

  • Nonbiodegradable materials
  • Toxic materials
  • Cat and dog droppings – may contain disease organisms
  • Lime – the high alkaline pH destroys perfect composting environment
  • Colored paper
  • Coal or charcoal ashes – unlike wood ashes, these may contain materials toxic to plants
  • Grease, fat, oils, bones and meat – these do not breakdown and can attract pests; fats coat materials, making it hard for them to decompose.

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