What Do You Add to a Compost Bin? | A Complete Guide

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Hey there! Are you a gardener looking to improve the quality of your soil? Or maybe you’re just interested in reducing your household waste? Well, adding a compost bin to your backyard might just be the solution you’re looking for! Composting is an excellent way to recycle organic waste and turn it into nutrient-rich soil that can be used to nourish your plants and gardens. But what exactly should you be adding to your compost bin? Think of your compost bin as a mini ecosystem that needs a balanced diet to thrive. Just like us, it needs a mix of different food groups to stay healthy.

In this blog post, we’ll be taking a closer look at some of the key ingredients that you should be adding to your compost bin. First up, we have kitchen scraps. These can include things like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, tea bags, and even eggshells.

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These items are rich in nitrogen and will provide essential nutrients to your compost pile. Next, let’s talk about yard waste. This can include things like grass clippings, leaves, and small branches.

These materials are high in carbon and will help to balance the nitrogen-rich kitchen scraps. Now, here’s where things get interesting. Did you know that you can also add things like newspaper, cardboard, and even shredded paper to your compost bin? These materials are considered “browns” and provide the necessary carbon to balance out the “greens” (kitchen scraps and yard waste).

Lastly, it’s important to mention that you should avoid adding meat, dairy products, and oils to your compost bin. These can attract pests and will take much longer to break down. Stick to plant-based materials for the best results.

So there you have it – a simple guide to what you should be adding to your compost bin. By ensuring a good balance of nitrogen-rich “greens” and carbon-rich “browns,” you’ll be well on your way to creating nutrient-rich compost that will work wonders for your soil. Happy composting!


If you’re just starting out with composting, you might be wondering what exactly you can add to your compost bin. Well, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can add to your compost bin to turn it into rich, nutrient-packed soil. First and foremost, you can add kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells.

These materials are rich in organic matter and will break down quickly in your compost pile. Additionally, you can add yard waste like grass clippings, leaves, and small branches. These materials provide a good balance of carbon and nitrogen, which are essential for healthy composting.

You can even add things like shredded paper, cardboard, and wood chips to your compost bin. Just make sure to avoid adding meat, dairy, and oily foods, as these can attract pests and slow down the composting process. So go ahead and start adding all your organic waste to your compost bin and watch as it transforms into beautiful, nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

what do you add to compost bin

Organic Kitchen Waste

When it comes to creating rich, nourishing compost, one of the most important ingredients is organic kitchen waste. This includes things like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and even paper towels and napkins. It’s amazing how much waste we produce in the kitchen that can actually be transformed into valuable fertilizer for our gardens.

By adding these organic materials to your compost bin, you are creating a perfect environment for beneficial bacteria and microorganisms to break down the waste and turn it into nutrient-rich soil. So, the next time you’re wondering what to do with those banana peels or onion skins, don’t throw them in the trash! Instead, toss them in your compost bin and let nature work its magic.

Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

Fruit and vegetable scraps may seem like useless waste, but did you know that they can actually be put to good use? These organic kitchen leftovers can be utilized in a variety of ways that are not only beneficial for the environment but also for your own personal well-being. Instead of throwing out those banana peels or carrot tops, consider using them to create nutrient-rich compost for your garden. By simply collecting and composting these scraps, you can create a natural fertilizer that will help your plants grow bigger and healthier.

Additionally, you can also use these scraps to make homemade vegetable broth, adding a flavor punch to your soups and stews while cutting down on food waste. With a little creativity, fruit and vegetable scraps can be transformed from being seen as waste to being seen as valuable resources for a sustainable lifestyle.

Coffee Grounds and Tea Leaves

organic kitchen waste, coffee grounds, tea leaves, compost Did you know that you can turn your coffee grounds and tea leaves into something useful for your garden? That’s right, instead of throwing them in the trash, you can compost them to create nutrient-rich soil. Coffee grounds and tea leaves are excellent additions to your compost pile because they are rich in nitrogen, which helps encourage the growth of microorganisms that break down organic matter. Plus, they can help balance the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio in your compost, which is essential for proper decomposition.

So the next time you finish your morning cup of joe or brew a pot of tea, don’t toss those grounds and leaves in the garbage. Instead, save them and add them to your compost pile. Your plants will thank you!


In our quest to reduce food waste and lead a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s important to consider what we do with our kitchen scraps. One often overlooked item that can be incredibly beneficial is eggshells. Yes, eggshells! Those seemingly fragile shells can actually be quite useful in our gardens and even for our own health.

When you crack an egg, you might be tempted to toss the shells into the trash without a second thought. But did you know that eggshells are rich in calcium? In fact, they contain about 95% calcium carbonate, which is a form of easily absorbable calcium for plants and humans alike. By adding crushed eggshells to your compost or directly to your garden soil, you can provide a natural and organic source of calcium that your plants will love.

But the benefits of eggshells don’t stop there. They can also be used as a natural pest deterrent. The sharp edges of crushed eggshells can deter slugs and snails from feasting on your precious plants.

Simply sprinkle the crushed shells around the base of your plants to create a barrier that these slimy pests will be reluctant to cross. Not only are eggshells beneficial for our gardens, but they can also be used for our own well-being. Consuming crushed eggshells can help boost our calcium intake, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth.

Simply clean the eggshells, crush them into a fine powder, and add a teaspoon to your smoothies or sprinkle it over your food. It’s a natural and cost-effective way to get some extra calcium into your diet. So next time you crack an egg, think twice before throwing away the shells.

Instead, put them to good use by giving your garden a calcium boost and improving your own health. It’s a simple and effective way to reduce waste and lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

Yard Waste

When it comes to composting, it’s important to know what you can and cannot add to your compost bin. While there are a variety of materials that can be added, it’s best to stick to items that are organic and biodegradable. Yard waste, such as grass clippings, leaves, and small branches, are great additions to your compost pile.

These materials are rich in nutrients and will break down over time, helping to create a healthy compost. However, it’s important to avoid adding any yard waste that has been treated with pesticides or chemicals, as these can contaminate your compost. By being mindful of what you add to your compost bin, you can create a nutrient-rich soil amendment that will benefit your garden and reduce waste.

So go ahead and put those yard clippings to good use!


yard waste Prompt: Yard Waste leaves Blog Section h3: “Leaves” Main Sub_heading: “Yard Waste” Ah, leaves. Those beautiful symbols of the changing seasons; they can turn our yards into vibrant tapestries of red, orange, and gold. But, as much as we may love the sight of them, we can’t ignore the fact that they also create a lot of yard waste.

So, what can we do with all those fallen leaves? First off, let’s talk about the importance of yard waste management. Leaving leaves to rot in your yard may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually have negative effects on your garden. As those leaves decompose, they can create a dense layer that prevents water and nutrients from reaching the soil.

This can lead to suffocated plants and an unhealthy yard. So, it’s essential to find ways to properly handle and dispose of your yard waste, including leaves. One option is to use a lawnmower with a bag attachment to collect and mulch the leaves.

This not only saves you time and effort but also creates a nutrient-rich mulch that can be used to fertilize your plants and garden beds. Talk about a win-win! Another option is to create a compost pile specifically for your yard waste. By adding leaves, grass clippings, and other organic materials, you can create a nutrient-dense compost that will enrich your soil and help your plants thrive.

If you’re not into DIY projects, you can also check if your local municipality offers leaf collection services. Many cities provide curbside pickup of yard waste, including leaves, during the fall season. This not only helps keep your yard clean but also ensures that the leaves are properly disposed of and turned into compost or other eco-friendly solutions.

So, the next time you look out onto your yard covered in a blanket of leaves, don’t despair. Instead, think of all the creative ways you can handle your yard waste. Whether you choose to mulch, compost, or rely on the help of your local municipality, you’re taking a step towards maintaining a healthy and beautiful yard.

Grass Clippings

Grass clippings are a common type of yard waste that we all encounter after mowing our lawns. While some people may think of them as a nuisance, they can actually be quite beneficial if used correctly. Instead of bagging them up and throwing them away, consider using them as a mulch in your garden beds.

Not only will this help to suppress weeds, but it will also conserve moisture and add nutrients to the soil as the clippings break down. It’s like giving your plants a nutritious meal! Plus, it’s a great way to reduce waste and save money on buying mulch from the store. So next time you’re out mowing the lawn, think twice before tossing those grass clippings in the trash bin.

Your garden will thank you!

Plant Trimmings

yard waste, plant trimmings, compost, organic matter, recycling, sustainability As a homeowner, you may find yourself with an abundance of yard waste and plant trimmings. Instead of tossing them in the trash and sending them to a landfill, consider the many benefits of recycling your yard waste. Not only does this help reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, but it also provides you with a valuable resource for your garden and overall sustainability.

Yard waste, such as leaves, grass clippings, and branches, can be transformed into nutrient-rich compost, which is a fantastic organic matter to nourish your soil. Composting not only reduces waste but also improves the health and fertility of your garden. It’s like giving your plants a gourmet meal! So why not take advantage of this natural process and turn your plant trimmings into a sustainable solution for your garden? By recycling your yard waste, you’re not only taking one step towards a greener future but also contributing to the overall health of your garden and the planet.

Other Compostable Materials

When it comes to composting, there are a wide variety of materials that you can add to your compost bin beyond just kitchen scraps. One option is yard waste, such as leaves, grass clippings, and small branches. These materials not only add valuable nutrients to your compost, but they also help to improve the overall structure and moisture retention of the compost pile.

Another option is paper products, including shredded newspaper, paper towels, and cardboard. These materials break down easily in the compost pile and can help to balance out the nitrogen-rich kitchen scraps. Additionally, coffee grounds and tea bags are great additions to compost bins.

They are rich in organic matter and can help to increase the acidity of the compost, which is beneficial for certain plants. So, the next time you’re wondering what to add to your compost bin, consider these other compostable materials to help create a nutrient-rich soil amendment for your garden.

Shredded Paper and Cardboard

shredded paper and cardboard in compost, compostable materials, recycling paper and cardboard. In addition to the usual suspects like fruit peels and vegetable scraps, did you know that shredded paper and cardboard can also be composted? Yep, that’s right! Instead of just tossing them into the recycling bin, you can give them a second life by turning them into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. Shredded paper and cardboard are considered “browns” in the composting world.

These materials are high in carbon and help balance out the nitrogen-rich “greens” like grass clippings and food waste. By adding shredded paper and cardboard to your compost pile, you’ll create a layered mix that promotes decomposition and prevents the pile from getting too compacted. Wondering what types of paper and cardboard can be composted? Well, the good news is that most types can be! Newspaper, office paper, cardboard boxes, and even shredded bills can all be added to your compost pile.

Just make sure to remove any plastic or glossy coatings, as these won’t break down and can contaminate your compost. To compost your shredded paper and cardboard, start by layering them in your compost bin along with other compostable materials. Aim for a ratio of roughly two parts “browns” to one part “greens” for optimal decomposition.

It’s also a good idea to periodically turn and mix your compost to ensure that all the materials are breaking down evenly. So, the next time you find yourself drowning in a mountain of old bills or cardboard boxes, don’t just toss them in the recycling bin. Give them a new lease on life as compost! Your garden will thank you for the rich, nutrient-filled soil, and you’ll be doing your part to reduce waste.

It’s a win-win situation!

Wood Chips

wood chips, compostable materials, benefits of using wood chips in compost, how to properly use wood chips in compost, considerations when using wood chips in compost

What Not to Add to Your Compost Bin

When it comes to creating nutritious compost for your garden, it’s important to know what to add and what to avoid. While there are many things you can add to your compost bin, there are also some items you should steer clear of. For example, while fruits and vegetables are great for composting, it’s best to avoid adding any meat or dairy products.

These can attract pests and create unpleasant odors. Similarly, you should avoid adding any diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed, as this can lead to the spread of diseases and weeds in your garden. Instead, opt for adding items such as leaves, grass clippings, coffee grounds, and eggshells, which will provide valuable nutrients to your compost.

By being mindful of what you add to your compost bin, you can ensure a healthy and productive environment for your garden.


So you see, adding certain things to your compost bin is like giving it a party with all the right guests. The greens are like the energetic and lively party animals, adding nitrogen and moisture to fuel the decomposition process. The browns are the calm and dependable guests, providing carbon and structure to help balance everything out.

And the extras, well, they’re like the quirky and unexpected guests who bring a dash of excitement and diversity to the mix. Just like in compost, a good party needs a little bit of everything. So next time you’re tending to your compost bin, remember to invite all the right guests and watch the magic happen in your own little microbial party.


What can I add to my compost bin?
You can add a variety of organic materials to your compost bin, such as fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, yard waste (such as grass clippings and leaves), and small amounts of shredded newspaper or cardboard.

Can I add meat or dairy products to my compost bin?
It is generally not recommended to add meat or dairy products to your compost bin, as they can attract pests and take longer to break down. Stick to plant-based materials for best results.

How often should I turn or mix my compost bin?
It is recommended to turn or mix your compost bin every 1-2 weeks to incorporate air and promote decomposition. This helps to speed up the composting process and ensures that the materials in the pile break down evenly.

Can I add weeds or diseased plants to my compost bin?
It is best to avoid adding weeds or diseased plants to your compost bin, as they can survive the composting process and potentially spread in your garden when you use the compost. It is safer to dispose of these materials in the regular trash.

What should I do if my compost bin smells bad?
If your compost bin has a strong unpleasant odor, it may be too wet or contain too much nitrogen-rich material. To fix this issue, add more dry carbon-rich materials (such as leaves or shredded paper) and turn the compost to increase airflow.

How long does it take for compost to be ready to use?
The time it takes for compost to be ready varies depending on various factors such as temperature, moisture, and the materials used. On average, compost can take anywhere from a few months to a year to fully decompose and become ready to use in your garden.

Can I add pet waste to my compost bin?
It is generally not recommended to add pet waste (such as cat or dog feces) to your compost bin, as it can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that may not be killed during the composting process. It is safer to dispose of pet waste in the regular trash.

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