From Scraps to Soil: A Complete Guide on Composting Food Waste

What Food Can Be Composted?

Composting is a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to dispose of food waste. By converting organic materials into nutrient-rich soil, composting helps reduce landfill waste and nourishes plants naturally. But what exactly can be composted? In this article, we’ll explore the wide range of foods that can be added to your compost pile.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are excellent additions to your compost bin. Whether it’s apple cores, banana peels, citrus rinds, or wilted lettuce – all these scraps are rich in nutrients that decompose well in a composting environment. Remember to remove any stickers or rubber bands from fruits and veggies before adding them to the pile.


Eggshells contain valuable calcium that plants love! Crushed eggshells break down easily when included in your compost mix. Rinse them out after use and let them dry before crushing – this prevents any unpleasant odors from developing as they decompose.

Coffee Grounds

If you’re an avid coffee drinker, fear not! Used coffee grounds are full of nitrogen and make a fantastic addition to your compost heap. So next time you brew up a pot of Joe at home or finish enjoying that delicious cup at a cafe, don’t toss those grounds – add them straight into your compost!

Tea Bags

Sipping on tea is not only soothing but also offers an opportunity for more sustainable living! Tea bags made from natural fibers like paper or muslin can easily be thrown into the composter along with their contents. Make sure to remove any staples if present beforehand.


Got stale bread? Don’t discard it; compost it! Bread, along with other baked goods like crackers or pastries, can be composted. However, avoid adding large quantities as they may attract pests such as rodents or flies.

Nuts and Shells

If you enjoy snacking on nuts like almonds, walnuts, or peanuts – their shells are compostable too! Simply crush them into smaller pieces before adding to your pile for quicker decomposition.

Paper Products

Paper products like napkins, paper towels, and even shredded newspaper can find a second life in the form of nutrient-rich soil. Tear them into smaller pieces before including them in your compost bin – this helps speed up the process.

What Not to Compost?

While many foods can be successfully composted, there are certain items that should not make their way into your pile:

Dairy Products and Meat

Avoid adding dairy products (like milk or cheese) and meat scraps to your compost. These items tend to decompose slowly and may produce unpleasant odors or attract unwanted pests.

Oils and Grease

In general, oils and greasy food waste should be avoided in the compost. They don’t break down easily and might create an imbalance in the pile’s moisture levels.

Cooking Fat

Similarly to oils and grease mentioned above, cooking fat shouldn’t go into your composter either. It’s best to dispose of these substances properly through designated channels rather than introducing them to your organic recycling system.

The Bottom Line

Composting is an excellent way to reduce food waste while creating nutrient-dense soil for your plants. Fruits, vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, breads, nuts and shells, as well as various paper products can all be composted successfully. Remember to keep dairy products, meat scraps, oils, grease and cooking fat out of your compost bin. By following these guidelines and maintaining a healthy balance in your pile’s composition and moisture levels – you’ll soon have rich homemade compost to nourish your garden!