Unveiling the Surprising Truth: What Can’t Be Composted and How to Properly Dispose of It

What Can’t Be Composted: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our blog post on composting! While composting is a fantastic way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil, it’s important to understand what can and cannot be composted. Not everything that comes from nature can go back into the earth through composting. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the items that should be kept out of your compost pile.

Why is knowing what can’t be composted important?

Before diving into the list of items that can’t be composted, let’s first understand why it’s crucial to know about them. Adding inappropriate materials to your compost heap not only slows down the decomposition process but may also introduce harmful substances or pests into your garden. To maintain a healthy and efficient composter, familiarize yourself with these non-compostable items.

1. Non-Organic Materials

The first category of materials that cannot be added to your composter includes non-organic matter such as plastic, glass, metal, or synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon. These materials are slow (or even impossible) to decompose and might contaminate your otherwise natural product.

a) Plastic:

Avoid any type of plastics in your composter as they do not break down effectively within reasonable timescales involved in home-based systems plus they could release toxic chemicals during decomposition.

b) Glass:

Glass does not decompose at all; hence it has no place in a traditional backyard compositor setup – consider recycling instead!

c) Metal:

Metal objects like nails or aluminum cans should never find their way into a composter unless you want rusty surprises when using the resulting soil amendment.

d) Synthetic Fabrics:

Materials such as polyester or nylon take an incredibly long time to decompose and may release microplastics into the environment, posing harm to plants, animals, and even humans. Keep these out of your compost pile!

2. Animal Products

While many organic materials can be added to a compost pile with ease, it’s best to avoid incorporating animal products altogether. This includes meat, dairy products (such as cheese or butter), bones, fish scraps, and oils.

a) Meat and Fish Scraps:

The decomposition process for meat or fish scraps in a home composter is often too slow and tends to attract unwanted pests like rodents or raccoons that can disturb the balance of your composting system.

b) Dairy Products:

Dairy items should also be avoided since they tend to smell unpleasant when decomposing due to their high-fat content. Additionally, they might encourage the growth of harmful bacteria in your compost.

3. Diseased Plants

Avoid adding any diseased plants or weeds with seeds in your compost heap. While regular plant matter can break down effectively during the composting process, diseases could spread through infected plant material if added without appropriate treatment.


In conclusion, understanding what can’t be composted is just as essential as knowing what you can add. By avoiding non-organic materials like plastic and glass while excluding animal products such as meat or dairy from your composter along with diseased plants – you’ll ensure a healthy decomposition process that yields nutrient-rich soil for use in your garden without any negative impacts on environmental health! Happy Composting!