What to Put in a Compost Bin: A Comprehensive Guide for Successful Composting
Composting is an eco-friendly and sustainable way to reduce waste and enrich your garden soil. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, having the right materials in your compost bin is crucial for creating nutrient-rich compost. In this guide, we will walk you through all the essential items to include in your compost bin.
1. Green Materials:
When it comes to making compost, green materials are rich in nitrogen and provide essential nutrients. These materials break down quickly and help maintain a balanced carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, promoting healthy decomposition.
- Kitchen scraps like fruit peels, vegetable trimmings, coffee grounds, and tea bags
- Fresh grass clippings (avoid treated lawns)
- Weeds without seeds
- Green leaves from plants or trees
- Fresh manure from herbivores (cow, horse) – avoid using pet waste or meat products as they can attract pests
2. Brown Materials:
Brown materials are high in carbon content which helps balance the nitrogen-rich green materials added to the compost pile. The purpose of brown ingredients is to provide structure and airflow within the pile.
- Dry leaves (shredded preferably)
- Newspaper strips (black-and-white pages only; avoid glossy papers)
- Coffee filters made from unbleached paper Eggshells crushed into small pieces (rich source of calcium)Sawdust or wood shavings (untreated wood only; avoid pressure-treated lumber)Dried grass clippings (ensure they are not treated with chemicals)
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Coffee grounds
- Nutshells (crushed or ground) Plant-based kitchen waste like corn cobs, stalks, and husksSpent flowers from bouquets or plants in your gardenWeeds without seeds (make sure to remove roots)Hair clippings (pet hair works too!)Dryer lint from natural fibers such as cotton or wool-based fabrics only – avoid synthetic fibers as they don’t decompose well 4. Yard Waste:
- Fallen leaves (preferably shredded)
- Grass clippings (ensure they are free from pesticides or herbicides)
- Pine needles or straw
3. Organic Materials:
Organic materials add diversity and nutrients to your compost pile. They help break down the green and brown materials faster while enriching the soil with essential minerals.
Your yard can provide an abundance of organic material for composting throughout the year. By incorporating yard waste into your compost bin, you can reduce landfill waste while improving soil quality.
An Important Note on What NOT to Put in a Compost Bin:
To ensure a successful composting process, it is crucial to avoid certain items that may disrupt the balance of microorganisms within the pile or introduce harmful substances that can affect the quality of your compost.
1. Meat, fish, or dairy products:
These items can attract pests and emit unpleasant odors when decomposing. It is best to avoid including them in your compost bin.
2. Grease or oily foods:
Greasy materials are difficult to break down and may prevent proper airflow within the pile, leading to a smelly and ineffective composting process.
3. Diseased plants or weeds with seeds:
Avoid adding plants infected with diseases as they may survive the composting process and spread back into your garden. Additionally, weeds containing seeds should be discarded separately to prevent unintentional spreading during application of finished compost.
A well-balanced compost bin requires a mix of green materials rich in nitrogen, brown materials high in carbon content, organic waste from your kitchen, yard waste from outside, and certain organic household items. By following these guidelines on what to put in a compost bin (and what not to), you’ll be well on your way towards creating nutrient-rich soil amendment for healthier plant growth while reducing landfill waste – all while doing your part for environmental sustainability!