Unlocking the Secrets of Effective Composting: Discover What You Can Put in Your Compost Bin!

What Can I Put in My Compost Bin?

Composting is not only an eco-friendly practice that reduces waste and landfill usage, but it also allows you to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, many people are unsure about what they can put into their compost bin.

The Basics of Composting

Before we dive into the list of items suitable for your compost bin, let’s quickly cover the basics of composting. Composting is a natural process where organic materials break down over time, resulting in a dark, crumbly substance called humus. This humus can then be used as fertilizer or soil amendment in gardens and landscapes.

To ensure successful composting, you need three essential ingredients:

  1. Browns: These are carbon-rich materials such as dried leaves, straw, newspaper shreds, and cardboard. Browns provide energy for decomposer organisms responsible for breaking down organic matter.
  2. Greens: These are nitrogen-rich materials like grass clippings, fruit/vegetable scraps, coffee grounds/tea bags (without staples), and plant trimmings. Greens supply protein to help microorganisms grow rapidly.
  3. Water: Moisture aids decomposition by maintaining optimal conditions within the pile—aim for dampness similar to a wrung-out sponge.

Foods Suitable for Your Compost Bin

Your kitchen is likely to be a rich source of compostable material. Here’s a comprehensive list of food items that can go straight into your compost bin:

  • Fruit and vegetable peels: Banana peels, apple cores/skins etc.
  • Eggshells: Crushed eggshells add calcium to the compost, but avoid using eggs with any residue.
  • Coffee grounds and filters: The coffee grounds provide nitrogen while filters made of unbleached paper break down naturally.
  • Tea bags (without staples): Used tea bags are great for composting as they decompose quickly.
  • Nut shells: Walnut, almond, or pistachio shells can all be added to your compost bin.

Other Organic Materials Ideal for Composting

Beyond kitchen scraps, there are numerous other organic materials you can incorporate into your compost pile:

  • Garden waste: Dry leaves, grass clippings, plant trimmings (excluding diseased plants), and flowers past their prime can all be used.
  • Straw and hay: These make excellent sources of carbon in your compost pile. However, avoid straw treated with herbicides or pesticides.
  • Paper/Cardboard products: Shredded newspaper or cardboard adds carbon to balance the nitrogen-rich greens in your heap..
  • Sawdust and wood chips:If untreated, sawdust from untreated wood or wood chips can help aerate the pile. However, Avoid using sawdust from pressure-treated wood as it may contain harmful chemicals.


    Avoid These Items

    To ensure a healthy and effective composting process, there are certain items you should never include in your bin:

      Fats/oils/grease: These substances don’t break down well and attract pests. Avoid adding them to prevent an unpleasant and smelly compost.
    • Dairy products: Milk, cheese, and other dairy items can produce odors and invite unwanted critters to your compost pile.
    • Meat/fish/bones: These materials decompose slowly, attract pests, and create an imbalanced compost mixture. Leave them out!
    • Coal/charcoal ashes: Ashes from coal or charcoal contain harmful substances that could harm plants in your garden due to their high alkaline content..
    • Yard waste treated with herbicides/pesticides: Any yard waste that has been treated with chemicals should be kept away from your compost bin as it may affect the quality of the resulting humus.


      In Conclusion

      Your compost bin is a treasure trove for recycling organic materials into nutrient-rich soil. Remember to balance greens (nitrogen) with browns (carbon), maintain proper moisture levels, and avoid adding items that don’t break down well or attract pests. With these guidelines in mind, you’ll be well on your way to producing excellent homemade compost for all your gardening needs!