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, pathogensand 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.