75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn’t

75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn’t

Howard Oates/istockphoto

The basics of composting are simple. Most people know they can compost fruit and vegetable peels, leaves, and grass clippings. But what about that tea bag you used this morning? Or the fur that collects in the brush when you groom your cat?

The following list is meant to get you thinking about your compost possibilities. Not every item on the list is for everyone, and that’s fine. Imagine how much trash we could prevent from going into the landfills if each of us just decided to compost a few more things. Here are 75 ideas to get you started

From the Kitchen

1. Coffee grounds and filters
2. Tea bags
3. Used paper napkins
4. Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
5. Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
6. The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
7. Plain cooked pasta
8. Plain cooked rice
9. Stale bread
10. Paper towel rolls
11. Stale saltine crackers
12. Stale cereal
13. Used paper plates (as long as they don’t have a waxy coating)
14. Cellophane bags (be sure it’s really Cellophane and not just clear plastic—there’s a difference.)
15. Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
16. Old herbs and spices
17. Stale pretzels
18. Pizza crusts
19. Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
20. Wine corks
21. Moldy cheese
22. Melted ice cream
23. Old jelly, jam, or preserves
24. Stale beer and wine
25. Paper egg cartons
26. Toothpicks
27. Bamboo skewers
28. Paper cupcake or muffin cups

From the Bathroom

29. Used facial tissues
30. Hair from your hairbrush
31. Toilet paper rolls
32. Old loofahs
33. Nail clippings
34. Urine
35. 100% Cotton cotton balls
36. Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks

Personal Items

It might be a good idea to bury these items in your pile. Just sayin’.

37. Cardboard tampon applicators
38. Latex condoms

From the Laundry Room

39. Dryer lint
40. Old/stained cotton clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces
41. Old wool clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces

From the Office

42. Bills and other documents you’ve shredded
43. Envelopes (minus the plastic window)
44. Pencil shavings
45. Sticky notes
46. Business cards (as long as they’re not glossy)
47. Receipts

Around the House

48. Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
49. Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
50. Subscription cards from magazines
51. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
52. Dead houseplants and their soil
53. Flowers from floral arrangements
54. Natural potpourri
55. Used matches
56. Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit

Party and Holiday Supplies

57. Wrapping paper rolls
58. Paper table cloths
59. Crepe paper streamers
60. Latex balloons
61. Raffia
62. Excelsior
63. Jack o’ Lanterns
64. Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor
65. Natural holiday wreaths
66. Your Christmas tree. Chop it up with some pruners first (or use a wood chipper, if you have one…)
67. Evergreen garlands

Pet-Related

68. Fur from the dog or cat brush
69. Droppings and bedding from your rabbit/gerbil/hamsters, etc.
70. Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird cage
71. Feathers
72. Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits)
73. Rawhide dog chews
74. Fish food
75. Dry dog or cat food

I know that the longer I’ve had a compost pile, the more likely I’ve been to take a second look at something I was preparing to throw in the trash. “Hmm. Can I compost this?” is a frequent question in my house. And, as you can see, it’s surprising how often you can answer “Yes!”

[Via Discovery.com]

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4 Responses to 75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn’t

  1. @LivingResource January 16, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    Good starter list. Thanks … I also take home the hair clippings from my hairdresser. Have read they add Nitrogen.

  2. Master Gardener January 17, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    as an avid gardener and composter, I would NEVER EVER EVER put latex condoms, latex balloons , or animal proteins (cheese or ice creams, rawhide dog chews, or dog/cat food{that crap is made with horrendous ingredients}) in a compost bin. *shakes head* wow.

  3. Composter January 23, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Hi Master Gardener. In defense, in a well made compost all those horrendous ingredients would be neutralized and made inert by the micro-organisms in the pile. I’ll understand if you don’t want to put them in but for others sake, it can be done safely.

  4. Edward February 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Along with all the usual food scraps, I once put peanut shells in my composter. Three years later I had a bin full of dirt with a lot of intact peanut shells strewn throughout it.

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