Compost Bin: What Not to Put In – Avoid These Common Mistakes

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Are you an avid gardener looking to reduce waste and improve the health of your soil? Composting is a fantastic way to achieve both of these goals. By turning your kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich compost, you can provide natural fertilization for your plants while reducing your carbon footprint. However, not everything belongs in your compost bin.

In fact, there are certain items that can do more harm than good. In this blog post, we will explore what not to put in your compost bin to ensure that you’re making the most out of your composting efforts.

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Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, not everything can be thrown into a compost bin. Certain items can actually slow down the composting process or even introduce harmful bacteria.

So, what shouldn’t you put in your compost bin? One thing to avoid is any kind of meat or dairy products. These can attract pests and create unpleasant odors. Similarly, oily or greasy materials should be avoided because they can create a slimy mess that is difficult to break down.

Another item to skip is any kind of synthetic fertilizer or pesticide. These can disrupt the delicate balance of microorganisms in the compost, making it less effective. Additionally, anything that has been treated with chemicals or contains toxins, such as certain types of paper or plastic, should not be composted.

By being mindful of what you put in your compost bin, you can ensure that your composting process goes smoothly and efficiently.

Why is it important to know what not to put in your compost bin?

Introduction: Composting is a fantastic way to turn your kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, not everything belongs in a compost bin. Knowing what not to put in your compost is just as important as knowing what to include.

When you understand what should be avoided, you can prevent unpleasant odors, pests, and the growth of harmful bacteria in your compost pile. So, why is it important to know what not to put in your compost bin? Let’s explore the reasons together. One of the main reasons to know what not to put in your compost bin is to maintain a healthy balance of organic matter.

Composting relies on a delicate equilibrium of carbon and nitrogen-rich materials, also known as browns and greens. Adding items that do not belong in the compost can throw off this balance and slow down the decomposition process. For example, putting meat or dairy products in your compost can introduce a high amount of fats and proteins, which can resist breaking down and lead to unpleasant odors.

Furthermore, certain materials can attract unwanted pests to your compost pile. Avoiding meat, fish, and oily foods is crucial to prevent attracting rats, raccoons, and other critters. Similarly, using cat or dog waste in your compost can introduce harmful pathogens into the soil.

These pathogens can contaminate your plants, posing a risk to human health. It’s best to leave these items out of your compost pile entirely to avoid any potential hazards. Another reason to be aware of what not to put in your compost bin is to promote the growth of beneficial microbes.

Composting relies on the activity of microscopic organisms that break down organic matter into compost. Certain items, such as treated wood or coal ashes, can contain chemicals or toxins that harm these beneficial microbes. By keeping these materials out of your compost, you ensure that the decomposition process is efficient and that you end up with high-quality compost for your garden.

compost bin what not to put in

The consequences of adding the wrong items to your compost

Adding the wrong items to your compost can have detrimental consequences. Composting is a natural process that breaks down organic materials into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. However, it requires a delicate balance of ingredients to work effectively.

When non-organic or inappropriate items are added to the compost pile, they can disrupt this balance and harm the overall decomposition process. As a result, the compost may not reach its full potential in terms of nutrient content and may even create unpleasant odors or attract pests. Therefore, it is important to know which items should and should not be included in your compost to avoid these negative consequences.

Non-biodegradable items

When it comes to using a compost bin, there are certain items that should never be added. These non-biodegradable items can disrupt the composting process and even contaminate the final product. So, what should you avoid putting in your compost bin? Well, for starters, plastics and synthetic materials should never be added.

This includes things like plastic bags, wrappers, and any other items made from plastic. These materials do not break down in the compost and can even release harmful chemicals into the environment. Another item to avoid is oil or grease.

These substances can cause your compost to become rancid and attract pests. Additionally, any meat, dairy, or cooked food should not be added to the compost, as they can also attract pests and create an unpleasant odor. By being mindful of what you add to your compost bin, you can ensure that you are creating a healthy and sustainable environment for your plants to thrive.


Plastics have become an integral part of our daily lives, but their impact on the environment is something we can no longer ignore. One major issue with plastics is that they are non-biodegradable, meaning they do not break down naturally and can persist in the environment for hundreds of years. This leads to a build-up of plastic waste in our landfills, oceans, and other ecosystems.

Plastic items such as drink bottles, straws, and packaging contribute to this problem. These items can easily be discarded after use, but they won’t go away on their own. They will continue to exist, taking up space and harming the environment.

It is important for us to reduce our use of single-use plastics and find more sustainable alternatives. By making small changes in our daily lives, such as using reusable water bottles and bags, we can all play a part in reducing the amount of non-biodegradable waste that ends up in our environment.


Non-biodegradable items are a growing concern in today’s world, and one of the major culprits is metal. While metal may seem like a strong and durable material, it poses significant challenges when it comes to disposal and its impact on the environment. Unlike biodegradable materials, which can naturally break down over time, metal remains intact for centuries, if not longer.

This is because the natural processes that break down organic matter, such as bacteria and fungi, cannot effectively decompose metal. One of the key issues with non-biodegradable metal items is their accumulation in landfills. As more and more metal waste is generated, landfills become filled to capacity, leading to significant environmental and health risks.

Additionally, metal items such as cans, appliances, and construction materials often contain toxic substances that can leach into the surrounding soil and water, further exacerbating the negative impact on the environment. Furthermore, the extraction and production of metal also contribute to environmental degradation. Mining activities, for example, can result in deforestation, habitat destruction, and the release of harmful gases and pollutants into the air.

The energy-intensive manufacturing processes used to transform raw metal into finished products also consume vast amounts of resources and generate greenhouse gas emissions. To address the issue of non-biodegradable metal items, it is crucial to promote recycling and proper disposal practices. Recycling metal not only conserves valuable resources but also reduces the demand for virgin materials and the associated environmental impacts.

By recycling metal, we can save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and decrease the need for mining and extraction. In conclusion, metal is a non-biodegradable material that poses significant challenges for the environment. From accumulation in landfills to the negative impacts of extraction and production, metal waste requires careful management to minimize its detrimental effects.

By promoting recycling and proper disposal practices, we can mitigate the environmental impact of metal and work towards a more sustainable future.


Glass is one of the most commonly used non-biodegradable items in our day-to-day lives. From drinking glasses to windows, glass is everywhere. But what exactly makes glass non-biodegradable? Well, it all comes down to the composition of glass.

Unlike organic materials, glass does not break down naturally over time. Instead, it remains in the environment indefinitely. This is because glass is made from silica, which is a type of sand.

When sand is heated at high temperatures, it melts and forms a liquid. This liquid is then shaped and cooled to create glass. The cooling process locks the molecules in place, giving glass its solid and non-biodegradable nature.

So, while glass can be recycled and reused, it will never decompose like other materials. That’s why it’s important to properly dispose of glass waste and recycle it whenever possible. By doing so, we can help reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste in our environment and minimize our impact on the planet.

Toxic or harmful materials

If you’re starting a compost bin, it’s important to know what materials are safe to include and what should be avoided. One thing you definitely want to keep out of your compost bin is toxic or harmful materials. These can include things like pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers.

These substances can not only interfere with the natural decomposition process but can also contaminate the compost and potentially harm your plants when the compost is used as a soil amendment. It’s also important to avoid adding pet waste, as it can carry harmful bacteria and parasites that are not killed through the composting process. Other items to steer clear of include meat, dairy products, and oily foods, as they can attract rodents and other pests to your compost bin.

By sticking to organic plant-based materials and avoiding toxic or harmful substances, you’ll be well on your way to creating healthy, nutrient-rich compost for your garden. So, enjoy composting and growing happy, healthy plants!

Chemicals and pesticides

Chemicals, pesticides, and other toxic materials are present all around us, often hidden in plain sight. While they may seem harmless, they can have serious implications for our health and the environment. These harmful substances can be found in everyday products we use, such as cleaning agents, personal care products, and even the food we eat.

The problem with these chemicals lies in their potential to disrupt our body’s natural systems and cause a wide range of health issues. Research has linked exposure to these toxins to various cancers, reproductive disorders, neurological problems, and developmental delays in children. Additionally, these chemicals can have long-lasting effects on our environment, polluting water sources, harming wildlife, and contaminating our soil.

It is important for individuals to be aware of the potential risks associated with these substances and make informed choices to minimize their exposure. Opting for natural alternatives, buying organic products, and properly disposing of hazardous materials can all contribute to a safer and healthier environment for ourselves and future generations.

Pet waste

pet waste, toxic materials, harmful substances, health risks. Have you ever wondered what happens to your pet’s waste once it’s left outside? Many pet owners simply scoop it up and dispose of it in the regular trash without giving it much thought. However, pet waste can actually contain toxic or harmful materials that can pose health risks to humans, animals, and the environment.

When animals digest their food, the waste that is left behind contains bacteria, parasites, and other harmful substances. These can include fecal coliform bacteria, which can cause illnesses such as diarrhea and stomach cramps. Additionally, pet waste can contain harmful chemicals from medications or flea treatments that may have been given to your pet.

When pet waste is left on the ground or washed into rivers and streams by rainfall, these harmful substances can contaminate the water supply. This can lead to pollution and the spread of diseases to humans and wildlife who come into contact with the contaminated water. Marine life can also be negatively affected by the presence of pet waste in the water, as it can disrupt the fragile balance of the ecosystem.

To prevent these risks, it’s important to pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste properly. Bagging the waste and placing it in the trash is a good option, but it’s important to note that pet waste should not be composted or used as fertilizer, as it can still contain harmful bacteria and parasites even after it has been broken down. By being responsible pet owners and taking the time to properly dispose of pet waste, we can help protect our health, the health of our pets, and the environment.

So the next time you’re out for a walk with your furry friend, don’t forget to bring along a bag and do your part to keep our communities clean and safe.

Slow to decompose materials

When it comes to composting, there are certain materials that you should avoid putting in your compost bin. These materials are slow to decompose and can disrupt the composting process. Some examples of what not to put in your compost bin include large branches, woody stems, and hard fruit and vegetable peels.

These materials take a long time to break down and can take up valuable space in your compost bin. Additionally, avoid adding dairy products, meat, and bones, as they can attract pests and create unpleasant odors. It’s also best to avoid adding any plants that are diseased or infested with pests, as this could potentially spread the disease or pests.

By avoiding these slow to decompose materials and focusing on adding items like fruit and vegetable scraps, leaves, and grass clippings, you can ensure that your composting process is efficient and effective.

Meat and fish

When it comes to materials that take a long time to break down, meat and fish definitely rank high on the list. These protein-rich foods are slow to decompose, requiring specific conditions to effectively break down and return to the environment. If left untreated or disposed of improperly, meat and fish can create a host of problems.

Not only do they give off a foul odor, but they also attract pests and promote the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, the decomposition process can release greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change. It’s important to handle and dispose of meat and fish waste responsibly, whether it’s through composting or proper waste management systems.

By doing so, we can minimize the negative impact of these slow-to-decompose materials and contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.

Dairy products

Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are a staple in many people’s diets. However, these products can be slow to decompose when they end up in our landfills. This is because dairy products contain high levels of organic matter, which takes longer to break down compared to other types of waste.

When dairy products are not properly disposed of, they can release harmful gases, such as methane, into the atmosphere. This not only contributes to climate change but also poses a risk to human health. Therefore, it is important that we find alternative ways to deal with dairy waste, such as composting or recycling, in order to reduce the environmental impact of these slow-to-decompose materials.

Oily and greasy food

Oily and greasy food can be delicious and satisfying, but they can also lead to negative consequences for both our bodies and the environment. When we consume these types of foods, our bodies struggle to break them down efficiently, leading to feelings of sluggishness and even weight gain. But the impact goes beyond just our waistlines.

Oily and greasy foods also have a detrimental effect on our environment. When these foods are not properly disposed of, they can end up in landfills, where their slow decomposition releases harmful gases into the atmosphere. This not only contributes to air pollution but also worsens the problem of climate change.

So, next time you’re tempted by that greasy burger or plate of fries, think about the lasting impact it can have not only on your own health but also on the health of our planet.


In conclusion, my dear earthly dwellers, the compost bin is a magical elixir of nature’s recycling system! But just like any enchanted potion, it requires our utmost attention and care. So, let us refrain from tossing in the forbidden delicacies that might upset the equilibrium of this mystical concoction. For you see, the compost bin is not a landfill’s mischievous cousin, nor a foodie’s secret trash disposal.

It is a vibrant ecosystem, a harmonious symphony of decomposers and nutrients, working tirelessly to turn our waste into golden soil. So, heed my words, fellow eco-adventurers! Though tempting it may be, let us not throw in a lemon’s puckered skin, for its acidity could sour the genteel composting brew. And while the banana peel’s exterior may entice us with its biodegradable allure, its slimy innards are best left for the worms to savor.

Ah, but there’s more to this story, my curious compatriots! The shiny remains of yesterday’s feast, the foil and wrappers call out to us, begging to be transformed. But alas, they are not fit for this mystical gastronomic expedition. For foil and wrappers, like noisy picnic crashers, refuse to break down and instead cling stubbornly to their waste-like nature.

Oh, and let us not forget those pesky pest-prone scraps! The meat, the dairy, oh the temptation! But fear not, for these delectable delights shall find their delightful destiny in the belly of the hungry reaper – the trusty municipal composting facility. There, they shall be tamed, transformed, and reunited with the earth’s fertile bosom. So, my friends, as we embark upon this ecological odyssey, let us remember the compost bin’s sacred commandments: no lemons, no banana goop, no shiny foils, and no meaty treats.

Only then shall our compost thrive and bestow upon us the gift of rich, dark soil – a testament to our sustainable voyage. Now, go forth, my fellow keepers of the Earth, and compost with wisdom and finesse. May your gardens flourish, your flowers bloom, and your hearts be forever entwined with the dance of nature’s eternal cycle.

The compost bin awaits – let the enchanting adventure begin!”

The key to successful composting is knowing what not to include in your compost bin

When it comes to composting, knowing what not to include in your compost bin is just as important as knowing what to include. One key category of materials to avoid is slow to decompose materials. These items take a long time to break down and can throw off the balance of your compost pile.

Some examples of slow to decompose materials include woody branches, large or thick pieces of cardboard, and animal bones. While these items will eventually break down, they will do so at a much slower rate compared to other compostable materials. This can lead to a pile that takes longer to mature and may not produce the nutrient-rich compost you desire.

To maintain a healthy and efficient compost pile, it is best to steer clear of these slow to decompose materials and focus on adding items that will break down quickly and contribute to a thriving compost ecosystem.


What materials should not be put in a compost bin?
There are several materials that should not be put in a compost bin, including meat, dairy products, oily or greasy food waste, pet waste, and diseased plants. These materials can attract pests, create unpleasant odors, and potentially contaminate the compost.

Can I put weeds in a compost bin?
Yes, you can put weeds in a compost bin, but it’s important to handle them correctly. Avoid including any weeds that have gone to seed, as this could spread the weed seeds throughout the compost. Additionally, it’s advisable to only compost non-invasive weeds to prevent them from taking root and spreading in your garden when you use the compost.

Can I compost citrus peels?
Yes, citrus peels can be composted. However, they may take longer to break down compared to other compostable materials. To speed up the process, you can cut the peels into smaller pieces or shred them before adding them to the compost bin.

Is it safe to compost paper and cardboard?
Yes, paper and cardboard can be safely composted. However, it’s important to avoid glossy or coated papers, such as magazines or colored inserts, as these can take longer to break down. It’s also recommended to shred or tear the paper and cardboard into smaller pieces to help them decompose faster.

Can I compost coffee grounds and tea bags?
Yes, coffee grounds and tea bags can be composted. They are rich in nitrogen and can help to improve the overall nutrient content of your compost. However, if you are using tea bags, make sure to remove any staples or labels before composting them.

Is it okay to compost eggshells?
Yes, eggshells can be composted. They are a good source of calcium for your compost and can help to balance the pH levels. To speed up decomposition, it’s best to crush the eggshells into smaller pieces before adding them to the compost bin.

Can I compost grass clippings?
Yes, grass clippings can be composted. However, it’s important to mix them with other materials, such as dried leaves or shredded paper, to prevent them from compacting and becoming slimy. It’s also recommended to spread them out in a thin layer rather than adding them all at once.

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