80 Items You Can Compost

    Joi/FlickrHome composting isn’t just for farmers anymore! The practice is becoming increasingly popular among urban environmentalists who are eager to cut their landfill contributions: from apartment dwellers growing gardens on top of NYC roofing, to folks who participate in their local municipal compost program, to homeowners looking to turn their backyards into teeny tiny sustainable city farms. Composting is a key component of the eco-friendly puzzle, because it takes waste that’s destined for landfills and turns it into usable, nutrient-rich soil perfect for gardening. Most people focus on kitchen scraps, but that’s just the tip of the composting iceberg. Did you know you could also include the following?

    1. Dryer lint

    2. “Dust bunnies”

    3. The insides of a vacuum bag (empty the bag into the compost bin)

    4. The contents of your dustpan (just use discretion)

    5. Coffee grounds

    6. Coffee filters

    7. Tea bags/loose leaf tea

    8. Soy/rice/almond/etc milk and other dairy substitutes

    9. Nut shells (but not walnut, which may be toxic to plants)

    10. Pumpkin/sunflower/sesame seeds (chop to ensure they don’t grow)

    11.  Avocado pits (chop them up so they won’t sprout)

    12.  Pickles

    13.  Stale tortilla chips/potato chips

    14.  Stale crackers

    15.  Crumbs (bread or other baked goods)

    16.  Old breakfast cereal

    17.  Bran (wheat or oat, etc)

    18.  Seaweed/nori/kelp

    19.  Tofu/tempeh

    20.  Frozen fruits and vegetables

    21.  Expired jam or jelly

    22.  Egg shells

    23.  Stale Halloween candy and old nutrition/protein bars

    24.  Popcorn kernels (post-popping, the ones that didn’t make it)

    25.  Old herbs and spices

    26.  Cooked rice

    27.  Cooked pasta

    28.  Oatmeal

    29.  Peanut shells

    30.  Booze (beer and wine)

    31.  Wine corks

    32.  Cardboard egg cartons 

    34.  Toothpicks

    35.  Q-tips (not the plastic ones)

    36.  Bamboo skewers

    37.  Matches

    38.  Sawdust

    39.  Pencil shavings

    40.  Fireplace ash (fully extinguished and cooled)

    41.  Burlap sacks

    42.  Natural cotton or wool clothes, cut into strips

    43.  Paper towels

    44.  Paper napkins

    45.  Paper tablecloths

    46.  Paper plates (non wax- or plastic-coated)

    47.  Crepe paper streamers

    48.  Holiday wreaths

    49.  Balloons (latex only)

    50.  Raffia fibers (wrapping or decoration)

    51.  Excelsior (wood wool)

    52.  Old potpourri

    53.  Dried flowers

    54.  Fresh flowers

    55.  Dead (not diseased) houseplants or their dropped leaves

    56.  Human hair (from a home haircut or saved from the barber shop)

    57.  Toenail clippings

    58.  Trimmings from an electric razor

    59.  Pet hair

    60.  Domestic bird and bunny droppings

    61.  Feathers

    62.  Fish food

    63.  Aquatic plants (from aquariums)

    64.  Dog food

    65.  Rawhide dog chews

    66.  Ratty old rope

    67.  The dead flies on the windowsill

    68.  Pizza boxes and cereal boxes (shredded first)

    69.  Toilet paper and paper towel rolls (shredded first)

    70.  Paper muffin/cupcake cups

    71.  Cellophane bags (real cellophane, not regular clear plastic)

    72.  Kleenex (including used)

    73.  Condoms (latex only)

    74.  Old loofas (real, not synthetic)

    75.  Cotton balls

    76.  Tampon applicators (cardboard, not plastic) and tampons (including used)

    77.  Newspaper

    78.  Junk mail

    79.  Old business cards (not the glossy ones)

    80.  Old masking tape

    81.  White glue/plain paste.

    Happy composting, everyone. Please tell us what YOU compost!

    Sayward Rebhal writes for Networx

    Updated March 7, 2018.

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