What To Put In a Compost Bin - 57 Things You Can Compost

What is composting?

You may have heard about composting but never quite understood what it was. As explained by the EPA, “compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow.”

It’s as simple as that. What would have otherwise just been waste is recycled while also making the planet greener.

Why is composting good for the environment?

There are a variety of reasons why composting is a good thing to do for your plants and for the environment in general.

Here’s a list of a few of the reasons according to the University of California:

  • Saves water
  • Recycles organic resources
  • Conserves landfill space
  • Improves plant growth
  • Reduces the use of harmful chemical fertilizers

As you can see, composting can have a major impact on protecting the environment and creating a more sustainable world.

How to build a compost bin?

Before you should know about what goes in a compost bin, you need to have one first. That requires building it.

The first thing you need to do is to pick out a good spot where you can place the compost bin. It should be near your garden. Once you’ve picked out the spot, put down a garbage bag in the spot.

Afterwards, you can use a storage container as the composter. One that’s 20 gallons or more is preferable.

Cut out the bottom of the container and drill holes in it. Lastly, put the container over the garage and fill it up with organic waste.

You can use a rope to secure the top of your bin if you have a lot of animals that roam your property often.

If you’re unclear about what exactly to compost, here are some ideas you can consider for composting.

What you can compost

soil and plant as an illustration about what to put in a compost bin

Kitchen greens for composting

Greens have a lot of nitrogen, which can add heat to your compost pile. That helps all the microorganisms in the compost grow.

They don’t have to necessarily be green. For example, cooked pasta would be a considered a green.

1. Kitchen greens

2. Tree leaves

3. Grass clippings

4. Coffee grounds

5. Potato peels

6. Banana peels

7. Lettuce      

8. Melon rinds

9. Citrus rinds    

10. Dead plants

11. Corn cobs

12. Seaweed

13. Cooked plain rice

14. Stale bread

15. Loose leaf tea

16. Cooked pasta

17. Dried herbs and spices

18. Spoiled pasta sauce

19. Cooked rice

20. Old spices

21. Kelp

22. Stale candy

23. Avocado pits

24. Stale pumpkin

25. Stale candy

26. Old jam

27. Molded cheese

28. Stale wine

29. Melted ice cream

Bathroom greens for composting

30. Urine

31. Menstrual blood

Pet-related greens

32. Rabbit, hamster, or gerbil droppings

33. Bird or snake droppings

34. Horse manure

Browns are items that add carbon so you can balance out the nitrogen greens that you’ve added into your compost.

The browns break down slowly, they’re dry, and they take up space which helps to provide air pockets. They’re a food source for the organisms that dwell in the soil.

Browns in the house for composting

35. Shredded papers or newspapers

36. Cardboard

37. Used napkins

38. Crumbs

39. Toothpicks

40. Tissues

41. Nails

42. Toilet paper

43. Hair from a hairbrush

44. Dryer lint

45. Old cotton towels

46. Dust bunnies

Browns outside of the house for composting

47. Sawdust or wood shavings

48. Straw

49. Leaves in the fall

50. Pinecones

51. Twigs

52. Nutshells

53. Wood chips

54. Dry cat or dog food

55.Dog or cat fur

56. Feathers

57. Pine needles

Don’t forget water for composting

In addition, to the greens and browns you put in your compost bin, you also need to put in water in order for their to be compost development as well.

What not to compost

While there are a number of items listed here that you can compost, there are also items you should be aware of that you shouldn’t compost.

A range of problems can occur such as developing pests, harming the plants, or creating a foul odor. Here’s a list of some of the items the EPA recommends you don’t compost:

1. Dairy products – Foul odor and attracts pests

2. Fats or oils – Foul odor and attracts pests

3. Meat or fish bones and scraps – Foul odor and attracts pests

4. Chemically treated yard trimmings – Can kill composting organisms

5. Dog or cat feces – Can contain germs, bacteria, viruses that harm humans, and parasites

Be sure to steer clear of putting any of these items or the other items that the EPA mentions should not be composted

Final thoughts on composting

Composting can be a great way to recycle all of the things you don’t need or no longer use. Take time to do your own research on how to compost.

Composting is a win-win for everybody, as it helps the plants we desire to grow well, and makes the earth a more inhabitable place.

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