What You Can Compost And What You Cannot Compost

What You Can Compost And What You Cannot Compost

Composting is an excellent form of recycling for those who would like to jump right into ensuring that they act in an environmentally friendly manner. Making compost requires little effort since you must simply start a compost pile. While this is a topic discussed in another article, you will find that getting started in composting is not as hard as you may think.

One of the more challenging aspects of composting, however, is ensuring that you compost the right substances. It may be a little difficult at first for you to consider the composting applications of certain objects, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Before we look at the list of things that may or may not be composted, we are going to look at some reasons why you need to compost properly.

Why Is It Important To Compost The Right Things?

Composting the right substances is an excellent way to ensure that your compost pile grows and does some good for your plants. If you put the wrong things into your compost pile, you will find that there are many ways that your garden compost can go wrong. There are two major reasons why you should take care while composting, however.

The first of these reasons is that composting is a form of recycling, and it should be doing good for the environment.


When you add certain things to your compost pile, you will find that they can result in damage to the surrounding environment. Whether this will happen immediately, or over time, is up to what you decide to compost.

The environmental damage can come in one of several forms. For example, some types of compost (which are not meant to be in the bin) can end up causing atmospheric pollution if they are left in a pile to degrade. While this can damage the ecosystem, you will find that this may be hazardous.

Certain byproducts of things which are not meant to be composted can end up hurting you if you breathe them in, which would be quite unfortunate. The last thing you want your compost pile to do is to end up hurting you. This is only one of the reasons why you would want to ensure that you compost the right objects.

The second reason is that putting the wrong compost into your pile can end up ruining the entire pile. If you put the wrong substance into your compost pile, you will find that it can end up ruining weeks of compost development if you are unfortunate, which would be annoying at the very least.

Composting the wrong thing can ruin the pile in many ways. The first way that it can ruin the compost pile is by halting the composting process. This can occur in a number of ways. The most common way is by adding compost ingredients to your compost pile that will kill off the developing bacteria.

Composting Bin Leafy Greens

Another, similar way that your compost pile can be ruined is because the substance you added will halt the development of bacteria. While it may not kill the existing bacteria, that bacteria will die off eventually and you will find that it will have the same result as killing the bacteria right out.

The last way that your pile can be ruined is by adding composting material that will make it toxic. If you add toxic compost to your soil, you will find that the health of your soil will be ruined and the plants which you attempt to raise will most likely end up dying.

Destroying your soil will take a long time to fix, so be careful.

What To Compost

When composting, you will want to ask yourself if a product will release any harmful substances when it is rotting in a pile. If you feel like a material will turn into a byproduct which will ruin your pile, you should do further research about it before tossing it into the pile.

Green Compost Bin

Most of the things that you can compost are quite simple, like leaves, small twigs, the remains of fruits and vegetables, trimmings from your garden, and many other natural options.

Most of these items will release beneficial byproducts that will not endanger your compost pile. These substances will improve the quality of your soil measurably.

What Not To Compost

There are many things which may seem like they can be composted, but you will find that they will do much more harm than good. For example, the brambles of blackberries and raspberries can end up turning into a byproduct which can end up killing much of the bacteria inside of your compost pile.

Another thing to avoid is putting your pet's droppings into a compost pile. Pet droppings are not the same thing as manure because pets tend to eat a variety of different foods when compared to grazing animals. The fact that grazers tend to eat a lot of grass is what makes manure work well for compost purposes.

Pet Dropings Don't Use

While normal wood ashes can be used for composting as a way to ensure that pests do not end up picking away at your pile, you will find that coal ashes are a whole different story. Coal ashes may end up killing your plants, so you will want to avoid them if looking for a way to keep your compost pile unmolested.

You will typically want to avoid composting meat, as that can prevent other compost ingredients from properly breaking down. It can also attract scavengers that you do not want rifling through your compost pile, like raccoons and possums. Other foods which are not meats (fruits and vegetables) are ideal, however.


We hope that this guide has helped you decide what is worth composting and what is not. You will find that composting is far more simple than you would think, it only requires the initiative to start doing it in the first place.

We wish you luck in your future composting endeavors and encourage you to educate others as well.

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