Compost Don’ts: Avoid These Items for a Healthy and Efficient Composting Process

The Dos and Don’ts of Composting: What Not to Put in Your Compost Bin


Composting is a wonderful way to reduce waste, enrich your soil, and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle. However, not everything you throw into your compost bin will break down and turn into nutrient-rich humus. Knowing what not to put in your compost is just as important as knowing what to include. In this blog post, we will guide you through the common mistakes people make when composting and help you avoid them.

Why Avoid Certain Materials?

The Science Behind Successful Composting:

Before we delve into the list of materials that should never find their way into your compost pile, it’s essential to understand the science behind successful composting. The process relies on microorganisms breaking down organic matter aerobically or anaerobically. Some materials can disrupt this delicate balance by introducing harmful pathogens, pests, or toxins that hinder decomposition or taint the final product.

Avoid These Materials:

Dairy Products:

While dairy products like milk and cheese are biodegradable items under normal conditions, they can attract unwanted vermin such as rats or raccoons when added directly to your compost heap. Instead of risking pests invading your garden space, it’s best to keep these out of your bin.

Meat & Bones:

Similar to dairy products, meat scraps including bones can entice animals that may dig up or scatter your carefully crafted pile while seeking a meal. Additionally, decomposing animal proteins emit unpleasant odors that may linger around the area.

Oily & Greasy Foods:

Items coated in oil or grease (e.g., salad dressings) should be kept away from your compost bin due to their slow decomposition rate. These substances can create a clumpy mess that inhibits airflow and leads to foul smells.

Processed Foods:

Highly processed foods, such as packaged snacks or fast food leftovers, usually contain preservatives or artificial ingredients that interfere with the natural composting process. Besides producing odors, these items may introduce synthetic chemicals into your soil.

Bread & Pasta:

While bread and pasta are organic materials, they tend to attract pests when added directly to your compost pile. Mold growth is also more likely in moist conditions, negatively affecting the overall quality of your compost.

Coal Ash & Charcoal:

Coal ash from fireplaces or charcoal remnants should never make it into your compost bin. Both coal ash and charcoal contain harmful substances like sulfur and chemicals used for ignition purposes that can contaminate your soil over time.


By avoiding these materials in your compost bin, you’ll ensure a healthier environment for beneficial microorganisms while preventing unwanted pests from invading. Remember to only include organic waste that can decompose naturally without causing harm or contamination. Stay mindful of what goes into your compost pile, and you’ll be rewarded with nutrient-rich humus for nourishing plants and reducing landfill waste.