What Do You Put in the Compost Bin: A Complete Guide to Composting Materials

what do you put in the compost bin

Welcome to our blog on composting! If you’re interested in sustainable living and reducing waste, then composting is a great way to start. Composting is the process of turning organic waste into nutrient-rich soil that can be used in your garden. But what exactly should you put in your compost bin? Think of your compost as a delicious recipe, and the ingredients you add are the key to its success.

Just like a chef carefully chooses the right ingredients to create a flavorful dish, you too need to be selective in what you put in your compost bin. So, what are the ingredients for a successful compost recipe? Firstly, you’ll need a good mix of green and brown materials. Green materials include fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings.

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These provide nitrogen, which is essential for the decomposition process. On the other hand, brown materials like dried leaves, wood chips, and shredded paper provide carbon, which helps to balance the nitrogen and promote decomposition. But wait, there’s more! Did you know that you can also add certain household items to your compost bin? Eggshells, for example, are a great source of calcium and can help to neutralize acidity in your compost.

Crushed eggshells also provide texture, which improves airflow in the compost pile. You can also add tea bags, coffee filters, and even hair (yes, hair!) to your compost bin. However, while it may be tempting to add all kinds of items to your compost bin, it’s important to exercise caution.

Certain materials, such as meat, dairy products, and pet waste, should never be added to a compost bin as they can attract pests and create a foul odor. Similarly, avoid adding chemically treated wood or yard waste that has been treated with pesticides. Now that you know what to put in your compost bin, it’s time to start composting! Remember, composting is a journey, and it may take some trial and error to find the perfect recipe for your compost pile.

But with a little time and effort, you’ll soon be rewarded with nutrient-rich soil that can help your garden thrive. Happy composting!


So, you’ve decided to start composting – great choice! But now you may be wondering, what exactly should you put in the compost bin? Well, the good news is that there are plenty of materials that can be composted. In fact, I like to think of a compost bin as a magical container that transforms everyday waste into nutrient-rich soil. You can put things like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, yard trimmings, and even shredded paper in your compost bin.

Just make sure to avoid adding meat, dairy products, oils, or pet waste, as these can attract pests or promote the growth of harmful bacteria. By adding the right mix of materials to your compost bin and giving it a little love and attention, you’ll soon have a valuable resource that can be used to enrich your garden or potted plants. So, go ahead and start gathering those compostables and let the magic begin!

Why Composting is Important

composting, why composting is important Introduction: Have you ever wondered what happens to the food scraps and yard waste that you throw away? Most of us probably don’t give it a second thought, but the truth is, all of that organic waste could be put to much better use. That’s where composting comes in. Composting is the process of breaking down organic matter, such as food scraps, leaves, and grass clippings, into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

It’s a natural way to recycle and create a valuable resource for your garden. But composting isn’t just beneficial for your plants – it’s also a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. So let’s dive in and explore why composting is so important.

what do you put in the compost bin

Benefits of Composting

composting, benefits of composting

Getting Started with Composting

composting, compost, organic waste, garden, kitchen, nutrient-rich, decomposition, microbes, environmental benefits. Introduction: Composting is an easy and effective way to transform organic waste from your garden and kitchen into nutrient-rich soil. It’s a natural process of decomposition, where microbes break down the waste materials and convert them into compost.

But why should you start composting? Well, aside from reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills, composting has numerous environmental benefits. It helps improve the soil quality, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and increases the water-holding capacity of the soil. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle your organic waste and give back to the Earth.

So, let’s dive into the world of composting and learn how to get started.

What to Compost

When it comes to what you can put in your compost bin, the options are plenty! Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. You can compost a variety of items, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, yard waste like leaves and grass clippings, and even shredded newspaper. These materials provide the necessary carbon and nitrogen balance for the composting process to happen effectively.

However, it’s important to avoid putting meat, dairy products, oily foods, and pet waste in your compost bin as they can attract pests and may not break down properly. By including the right materials in your compost, you can create a sustainable and eco-friendly way to enrich your soil and help your plants thrive. So go ahead and start composting today!

Green Materials

composting, green materials, what to compost

Brown Materials

composting, brown materials, what to compost

Other Compostable Materials

In addition to the traditional kitchen scraps and yard waste, there are many other materials that can be added to your compost. These items may not be as commonly known, but they can still break down and enrich your compost pile. For example, coffee grounds are a great addition to compost.

They are rich in nitrogen and add a nice boost to the decomposition process. You can also include tea bags, as they will break down over time. Another surprising contender is hair.

Hair is high in nitrogen and can help to aerate the compost pile. Just make sure to remove any hair products or dyes before adding it to your compost. Finally, don’t forget about dryer lint.

Although it may not seem like much, dryer lint is made up of tiny fibers that can break down and add valuable organic matter to your compost. So, the next time you clean out your dryer, don’t throw that lint away – add it to your compost pile! By diversifying the materials you include in your compost, you can create a healthy and nutrient-rich pile that will benefit your garden.

What Not to Compost

When it comes to composting, it’s important to know what items can and cannot be put in the compost bin. While many things can be composted, there are some items that should never make their way into the pile. For starters, meats and dairy products should never be composted.

These items can attract pests and cause odors in the compost pile. Additionally, pet waste, such as cat litter or dog waste, should also be avoided as it can contain harmful bacteria. Other items to keep out of the compost bin include oily or greasy foods, as well as any plants that have been treated with pesticides.

It’s always best to stick to natural, plant-based materials when composting to ensure a healthy and effective compost pile. So, next time you’re wondering what to put in the compost bin, remember to avoid these items for a successful composting experience.

Diseased plants

When it comes to composting, there are certain things you should avoid adding to your compost pile, and one of them is diseased plants. While composting is a great way to recycle organic waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden, diseased plants can introduce harmful pathogens and pests into the compost. These pathogens and pests can then spread to your healthy plants, causing them to become sick as well.

It’s important to properly dispose of any diseased plants by either burning them or placing them in the garbage. This will help prevent the spread of diseases and protect the health of your garden. So, next time you’re composting, make sure to leave the diseased plants out!

Meat, fish, and dairy

When it comes to composting, there are certain items that should be avoided, such as meat, fish, and dairy products. While these are organic materials, they can attract pests and create unpleasant odors if added to a compost pile. Meat and fish scraps, in particular, can attract rats, raccoons, and other unwanted critters to your compost bin.

Additionally, these items can take longer to break down and may not decompose properly in a typical backyard composting system. Dairy products, on the other hand, can cause issues with the balance of bacteria and fungi in the compost pile, leading to an unpleasant smell and potential plant diseases. It’s best to stick to composting fruits and vegetables, yard waste, eggshells, and coffee grounds, as these items will break down more easily and provide the necessary nutrients for your plants.

By avoiding meat, fish, and dairy products in your compost pile, you can ensure a more efficient and odor-free composting process.

Oily or greasy foods

Oily or greasy foods are a big no-no when it comes to composting. These types of foods, like fried foods or foods cooked in a lot of oil, can have negative effects on your compost pile. The oil and grease can create a barrier that prevents air from circulating properly in the compost, leading to a buildup of anaerobic bacteria that produces unpleasant odors.

Additionally, the high fat content in these foods can attract pests like rats and raccoons to your compost pile. So, it’s best to keep these oily and greasy foods out of your compost and opt for composting things like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and yard waste instead. Your compost pile will thank you!

Black walnut tree leaves or twigs

Composting is a great way to recycle organic material and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, not all materials are suitable for composting. One such example is black walnut tree leaves or twigs.

While these may seem like perfect additions to your compost pile, they can actually be harmful to other plants. Black walnut trees contain a chemical compound called juglone, which is toxic to many plants. This compound is found in the leaves, twigs, and bark of the tree, and it can be released into the soil when these materials decompose.

While some plants have developed a resistance to juglone and can tolerate its presence, many others are highly sensitive to it. If you add black walnut tree leaves or twigs to your compost pile and then use that compost in your garden, you may find that certain plants struggle to grow or even die. The juglone can inhibit the growth of sensitive plants, affecting their ability to take up water and nutrients from the soil.

To avoid this issue, it’s best to leave black walnut tree leaves and twigs out of your compost pile. Instead, dispose of them separately or use them as mulch in an area where you don’t plan to grow sensitive plants. This way, you can still make use of the leaves and twigs without risking harm to your garden.

By being mindful of what materials are suitable for composting, you can ensure that your compost is safe and beneficial for your plants. So while black walnut tree leaves and twigs may not be suitable for composting, there are plenty of other organic materials that can be turned into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. So get composting and give your plants the healthy, thriving soil they deserve!


In conclusion, my dear compost enthusiasts, the compost bin is truly a magical vessel that can turn our waste into wonder. It is a receptacle of renewal, a symphony of decomposition, and a symposium of sustainability. As we ponder the question, “What do you put in the compost bin?”, we must approach it with a mischievous twinkle in our eyes and an adventurous spirit.

For in this wondrous bin, we embark on a quest to give new life to our discarded treasures. Leaves dance a brisk tango with kitchen scraps, imbibing the compost with a symphony of nutrients. Banana peels and coffee grounds take center stage, bringing a burst of nitrogen and energy to the ensemble.

Garden clippings and grass trimmings join the performance, adding their own melodious green notes. But wait! The compost bin craves more than just the usual suspects. It yearns for the unexpected, the eccentric additions that make it truly sing.

A paper bag? Why, it’s the harmonious bass line that provides structure and aeration. Eggshells? Ah, they are the percussion section, adding a rhythmic crunch to the mix. And let us not forget the alchemical concoctions that can fuel the compost’s splendid transformation.

A sprinkle of soil here, a dash of wood ash there, and voilà! The compost bin transforms into a pulsating cauldron of decomposition, brewing up the elixir of fertility. But dear compost lovers, remember that composting is a delicate dance, a balance of ingredients and patience. Avoid the forbidden items that would throw this delicate tango off-kilter: meat and dairy, pet waste, and non-biodegradable materials.

These interlopers disrupt the harmony, and the compost bin frowns upon such disruptive behavior. So, my compost comrades, let us gather our kitchen scraps and yard waste, our eccentric additions and alchemical brews, and embark on this journey of transformation. Let us revel in the wonders of decomposition, the magic of turning waste into rich, fertile soil.

Maintaining Your Compost Bin

When it comes to maintaining your compost bin, knowing what not to compost is just as important as knowing what to compost. While it may be tempting to throw all of your organic waste into the bin, there are certain items that should be kept out. First and foremost, avoid adding any meat or dairy products to your compost bin.

These items can attract pests and may not break down properly. Additionally, stay away from adding oily or greasy materials, as they can create an imbalance in the compost and make it difficult for decomposition to occur. Other items to avoid include pet waste, weeds, and synthetic chemicals.

By keeping these items out of your compost bin, you can help create a healthier, more effective compost for your garden.

Using Your Compost

“What Not to Compost” Composting is a fantastic way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, not everything can be thrown into your compost pile. There are certain items that should be avoided to ensure a successful composting process.

One thing to avoid is meat and dairy products. These items can attract pests and create unpleasant odors. Similarly, oily or greasy foods should be kept out of your compost pile, as they can slow down the decomposition process and create a slimy mess.

Another item to stay away from is pet waste. Animal feces can contain harmful pathogens that could contaminate your compost. Additionally, weeds or plants that have gone to seed should be avoided, as they can spread and take over your garden.

Lastly, never compost anything that has been treated with pesticides or herbicides, as these chemicals can persist in your compost and harm your plants. By avoiding these items, you can ensure that your composting efforts are successful and that you have a healthy, nutrient-rich soil for your garden.


### FAQ 1: What can I put in the compost bin? You can put a variety of organic materials in the compost bin, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, yard waste (such as grass clippings and leaves), and small amounts of paper and cardboard. Avoid adding meat, dairy products, oils, and pet waste to the compost bin. ### FAQ 2: How long does it take for compost to be ready? The time it takes for compost to be ready can vary, but typically it takes about 2 to 6 months. Factors such as the type of materials used, the size of the compost pile, and the amount of effort put into turning and maintaining the compost can all affect the composting process. ### FAQ 3: Can I compost weeds and diseased plants? Yes, you can compost weeds and diseased plants. However, it’s important to ensure that the compost pile reaches a high enough temperature (between 130-160°F) to kill any weed seeds or plant pathogens. Turning the compost regularly can help maintain the necessary temperature. ### FAQ 4: Can I compost citrus and other acidic fruits? Citrus fruits, along with other acidic fruits such as pineapples and tomatoes, can be composted. However, it’s recommended to add them in moderation, as their high acidity can slow down the composting process. It’s also a good idea to cut them into smaller pieces to increase their decomposition rate. ### FAQ 5: Can I compost cooked food scraps? Yes, you can compost cooked food scraps. However, you should avoid adding large amounts of cooked food, as it can attract pests and create odor problems. It’s best to balance cooked food scraps with a larger proportion of dry brown materials, such as dead leaves or shredded newspaper, to maintain a healthy compost. ### FAQ 6: Can I compost grass clippings treated with herbicides? It’s generally not recommended to compost grass clippings that have been treated with herbicides, especially those containing persistent chemicals. These chemicals may not break down completely during the composting process and can have negative effects on plant growth or other organisms when the compost is used. It’s best to use untreated grass clippings for composting. ### FAQ 7: Can I compost wood ashes? Yes, you can compost wood ashes in small amounts. However, it’s important to use wood ashes in moderation, as they are very alkaline and can raise the pH level of the compost. Additionally, make sure the wood ashes are completely cooled before adding them to the compost bin, as they can retain heat for a long time and may pose a fire hazard.

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