What to Include in Your Compost Pile for Optimal Results

The Benefits of Composting: What Goes in a Compost Pile?


Composting is not only an eco-friendly way to manage waste but also a means to enrich your garden soil naturally. It’s a simple process that involves the decomposition of organic materials, turning them into nutrient-rich humus. But what exactly goes into a compost pile? In this article, we will explore the wide variety of items suitable for composting.

Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

One major component of any successful compost pile is fruit and vegetable scraps. These include peels, cores, rinds, seeds, and other discarded parts from your daily produce consumption. Not only do these scraps break down quickly due to their high moisture content but they also add essential nutrients such as potassium and phosphorus to your compost.


– Cut larger scraps into smaller pieces to accelerate decomposition.
– Avoid including diseased or moldy fruits/vegetables as they may introduce harmful pathogens into the pile.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee lovers rejoice! Coffee grounds are another fantastic addition to your compost heap. The rich nitrogen content in coffee grounds makes them ideal for speeding up the breakdown process while providing valuable nutrients like magnesium and calcium. So next time you brew yourself a cup of joe, save those used coffee grounds instead of tossing them away!


– Mix coffee grounds with other organic matter to prevent clumping.
– Be mindful not to overload your pile with too many coffee grounds; moderation is key.


If you’re an avid baker or chef who frequently uses eggs in recipes, don’t throw away those eggshells! They can be incredibly beneficial for your compost pile due to their calcium-rich composition. Crushed eggshells decompose gradually, providing a valuable source of nutrients while also helping to balance the pH levels in your compost.


– Rinse and dry eggshells before adding them to prevent attracting pests.
– Crush the shells into smaller pieces to facilitate faster decomposition.

Yard Waste

When it comes to composting, yard waste is often overlooked. However, grass clippings, leaves, small twigs, and plant trimmings are excellent additions that offer essential carbon for a well-balanced compost pile. Yard waste adds texture and helps maintain proper airflow within the pile.


– Avoid using diseased or insect-infested plants as they can transfer pathogens or pests into your compost.
– Mix different types of yard waste together for an optimal blend of carbon-rich materials.

Other Organic Matter

In addition to the aforementioned items, there are several other organic materials you can incorporate into your compost pile:

Newspaper and Cardboard:

Shredded newspaper or cardboard provides much-needed carbon for your compost. Make sure to remove any glossy paper or plastic coatings before shredding.

Straw and Hay:

Straw and hay make excellent sources of carbon that help maintain moisture levels inside the pile. Opt for straw without seed heads to avoid unwanted plants sprouting from your finished compost.

Natural Fibers:

Organic materials like cotton rags, wool scraps, or natural fibers from old clothes can be added sparingly for extra carbon content.

What Shouldn’t Go in a Compost Pile?

While many things can be successfully added to a compost heap, some items should not find their way into it:

1. Meat products: These attract rodents and may lead to unpleasant odors.
2. Dairy products: Similar to meat, dairy can attract unwanted pests and produce foul smells.
3. Fats, oils, and grease: These substances are difficult to break down and may cause an imbalanced compost pile.


Now that you know what goes into a compost pile, start collecting your organic waste today! Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, yard waste, newspaper/cardboard, straw/hay, and natural fibers are all fantastic additions. Remember to avoid meat products, dairy products, fats/oils/grease for a healthy composting process. By composting these materials properly in your own backyard or even indoors using specialized bins or tumblers if space is limited – you’re contributing to a greener planet while obtaining nutrient-rich soil for your garden at the same time!