Composting: What to and What not to Compost

Composting is a very worthwhile endeavor and many in their enthusiasm might tend to begin to throw anything into the compost and not realize the consequences. While it is true that a great deal of waste products CAN be composted there are some that definitely should not. This list not fully comprehensive, but should serve as a general guidline. Your actual compost contents may vary depending on the type of composter you purchase.

DO Compost:

  • Farm animal manure(not dog and cat manure, which will be discussed later)
  • Cardboard paper towel rolls
  • Shredded paper and documents (it keeps your identity safer)
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Cotton or wool rags
  • Dryer and vacuum lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace debris
  • Fruit and vegetable trimmings
  • Grass and yard clippings, and leaves
  • Hair and fur
  • Houseplants
  • Straw or hay
  • Nutshells
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded newspaper (shredded in order to help prevent “clumping” for good air circulation)
  • Tea bags
  • Wood chips

Do NOT Compost:

  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides because these pesticides could kill the organisms that make composting possible
  • Items that might create a more uncontrollable odor problem or a pest or rodent infestation, such as meat or fish scraps and bones, fats, grease, lard, oils, or dairy
  • Products like milk, yogurt, sour cream, butter, egg yolks
  • Items that might later release substances that are harmful to plants like black walnut tree leaves and trimmings, coal, or charcoal ash
  • Plant trimmings that are diseased or infected with insects as these may survive and be transferred back onto the plants you are trying to help
  • Pet waste and cat litter because these could contain parasites, germs, pathogens and viruses that are harmful to humans. If you wish to compost these items, it is recommended that use a special pet composter which is designed to handle these issues.