What to Put in a Compost Bin: A Comprehensive Guide for Perfect Compost

Have you ever wondered what to do with all of your food scraps and yard waste? Instead of throwing them in the trash, consider starting a compost bin. Composting is a natural process that turns organic material into nutrient-rich soil. Not only does it help reduce waste, but it also provides a valuable resource for your garden.

But what exactly can you put in your compost bin? Let’s dig in and find out.

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Are you interested in starting your own compost bin but not sure what to put in it? Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. The key to successful composting is to create a good balance of organic materials. You want to include a mix of “browns” and “greens.

” Browns include things like dried leaves, wood chips, and cardboard. Greens are items like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. You’ll also want to add in some water to keep the compost moist.

Avoid adding meat, dairy, or oily foods, as these can attract pests and take longer to break down. With the right mix of materials and a little bit of patience, you’ll soon have dark, crumbly compost ready to nourish your plants. So go ahead and start filling up that compost bin with all your kitchen and yard scraps!

Why Composting is Beneficial

composting, benefits of composting

what to put in compost bin

What is Compost?

compost, introduction

What Can Go in a Compost Bin

If you’re looking to start composting, it’s important to know what can go in a compost bin. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. So, what can you put in your compost bin? The answer is a variety of organic materials.

Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and eggshells are all great additions to your compost. You can also add yard waste like leaves, grass clippings, and small branches. Avoid putting meat, dairy, and oily or greasy foods in your compost as they can attract pests.

It’s also best to steer clear of pet waste, as it can contain harmful bacteria. By adding the right materials to your compost bin, you’ll be well on your way to creating nutrient-rich soil for your plants.

Green (Nitrogen-rich) Materials

compost bin, green materials, nitrogen-rich materials, organic waste, kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, coffee grounds When it comes to what goes in a compost bin, there are plenty of options to choose from. One of the key components of a successful compost pile is adding green, or nitrogen-rich, materials. These materials break down quickly and add vital nutrients to the compost.

So what exactly can you include in this green category? One of the most common green materials to add to a compost bin is organic waste from the kitchen. This can include things like fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Instead of throwing these items in the trash, you can turn them into valuable compost for your garden.

Fresh grass clippings are another excellent green material for compost. When you mow your lawn, collecting the clippings and tossing them into the compost bin helps add nitrogen to the mix. Just be sure not to add too many clippings at once, as they can form clumps and become compacted.

Coffee grounds are a great addition to a compost bin, as they are rich in nitrogen and beneficial microorganisms. After brewing your coffee, be sure to save the grounds and add them to your compost pile. Not only will they help speed up the decomposition process, but they can also improve the overall quality of your compost.

Remember, adding a variety of green and brown materials is essential for a well-balanced compost pile. By regularly adding nitrogen-rich materials like kitchen scraps, fresh grass clippings, and coffee grounds, you’ll be well on your way to creating nutrient-rich compost for your garden. So think twice before throwing away those kitchen scraps and start turning them into black gold for your plants!

Brown (Carbon-rich) Materials

compost bin, brown materials, carbon-rich materials

Other Compostable Items

compostable items, compost bin, organic waste, kitchen scraps, yard waste, natural materials, biodegradable materials. In addition to the usual suspects like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells, there are plenty of other compostable items that you can throw in your compost bin. Have you ever wondered what to do with those old, moldy bread slices? Well, instead of tossing them in the garbage, throw them in your compost bin! Bread is made from natural materials and will break down easily in your compost pile.

And speaking of food, how about those stale crackers or half-eaten potato chips? They may not be appetizing anymore, but they can definitely contribute to a healthy compost pile. Another item that you might not think of as compostable is paper towels. Instead of throwing them away, simply tear them up into pieces and add them to your compost bin.

They will decompose just like any other organic waste. And don’t forget about yard waste! Leaves, grass clippings, and small branches can all be tossed in your compost bin to break down and turn into nutrient-rich soil. So the next time you’re cleaning out your fridge or gardening, don’t throw everything in the trash.

Consider what can go in a compost bin and let nature do its work!

What Not to Put in a Compost Bin

When it comes to composting, it’s important to know what should and shouldn’t be put into your compost bin. While there are many things that can be added to a compost bin to create nutrient-rich soil, there are also some items that should be avoided. One of the main things to avoid is meat and dairy products.

These items can attract pests and can also produce unpleasant odors as they break down. Another thing to avoid is oils and fats, as they can cause the compost pile to become too compacted and can also attract unwanted animals. In addition, it’s best to steer clear of any plants that have been treated with chemical pesticides, as these can contaminate the compost and potentially harm plants when it’s applied to the garden.

By being mindful of what not to put in your compost bin, you can ensure that your composting efforts are successful and produce nutrient-rich soil for your garden.

Meat, Dairy, and Oily Foods

compost bin, meat, dairy, oily foods

Pet Waste

In the world of composting, it’s important to know what can and can’t go into your compost bin. While composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil, there are certain things that should never go in, and pet waste is one of them. While it may seem like a natural choice to include in your compost pile, pet waste actually poses a number of health risks.

Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can contaminate your compost and potentially make you sick. Additionally, adding pet waste to your compost can attract unwanted pests, such as rats and flies. So, it’s best to leave the pet waste out of your compost bin and dispose of it in the trash instead.

Your plants and your health will thank you!

Invasive Weeds and Diseased Plants

compost bin, invasive weeds, diseased plants, planting bed, organic matter Invasive weeds and diseased plants can wreak havoc on your garden, and the last thing you want to do is introduce them into your compost bin. While composting is a great way to recycle organic matter and enrich your soil, it’s important to be selective about what you put in there. Invasive weeds, like bindweed and Japanese knotweed, have a tendency to take over and can spread rapidly if given the chance.

These pesky plants can quickly take root in your compost and then be scattered around your garden when you use the finished compost. Similarly, diseased plants can harbor pathogens that can survive the composting process and then be reintroduced into your garden when you spread the compost in your planting beds. To avoid these issues, it’s best to keep invasive weeds and diseased plants out of your compost bin altogether.

Instead, dispose of them in a separate manner, such as through municipal composting or bagging them up for the garbage. This way, you can ensure that your compost remains free of unwanted invaders, allowing you to create a healthy and thriving garden.

Plastic and Synthetic Materials

plastic and synthetic materials, compost bin, what not to put, recycling, environment, sustainability

Tips for Successful Composting

If you’re looking to start composting, you might be wondering what exactly you can put in your compost bin. The good news is that there are plenty of items you can use to create nourishing compost for your garden. First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure you include a mixture of green and brown materials.

Green materials include things like grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, and coffee grounds. These items are high in nitrogen, which helps to break down organic matter. On the other hand, brown materials, such as dried leaves, straw, and shredded paper, are rich in carbon, which provides the energy source for the decomposers in your compost pile.

It’s important to note that while many organic materials can be composted, there are a few things you should avoid. Meat, dairy products, and oily foods can attract pests and create odors in your compost. Additionally, avoid adding diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed, as these can spread pests or diseases to your garden.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to creating nutrient-rich compost to help your plants thrive. So, gather your kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials and get started on your composting journey today.


If you want to have successful composting in your garden, one essential technique to focus on is layering. Layering your compost pile ensures that you have the right balance of ingredients and allows for proper decomposition. One key tip for layering is to start with a layer of carbon-rich materials such as dry leaves or straw.

This provides a good base for your compost pile and helps to absorb excess moisture. Next, add a layer of nitrogen-rich materials like kitchen scraps or grass clippings. These materials provide the necessary nutrients for the composting process.

It’s important to alternate between carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich layers to maintain a good balance. Additionally, as you add each layer, be sure to water it lightly to keep the pile moist but not soggy. By layering your compost pile correctly, you create the perfect environment for microorganisms to break down the organic matter and produce nutrient-rich compost for your garden.

So give it a try and start layering your compost today!


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“Tips for Successful Composting: Managing Moisture Levels” Composting is a fantastic way to turn kitchen scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, one of the key factors in successful composting is managing moisture levels. Too much moisture can lead to a smelly, slimy mess, while too little moisture can slow down the decomposition process.

So, how can you strike the right balance? One tip is to think of your compost pile as a sponge. Just like a sponge needs to be damp but not soaking wet, your compost pile should be moist to the touch. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a moisture level similar to a wrung-out sponge.

If it’s too dry, add some water; if it’s too wet, add some dry materials like leaves or shredded newspaper to absorb the excess moisture. Another helpful tip is to regularly turn your compost pile. This helps to distribute moisture evenly throughout the pile and prevents any areas from getting too wet or too dry.

Turning the pile also helps to introduce oxygen, which is crucial for the decomposition process. If you live in an area with heavy rainfall or if you’re composting during the winter months, consider covering your compost pile with a tarp or plastic sheet. This will help to protect it from becoming waterlogged and ensure that moisture levels remain consistent.

Remember, successful composting is all about finding the right balance. By managing moisture levels and regularly turning your pile, you’ll be well on your way to creating nutrient-rich compost that will give your plants a healthy boost. Happy composting!

Common Composting Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to composting, knowing what to put in your compost bin is essential for successful decomposition. One common mistake is adding meat and dairy products to the bin. While these items can technically decompose, they can attract pests and create unpleasant odors.

It’s best to stick to plant-based food scraps, such as fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Another mistake to avoid is adding weeds or invasive plants to your compost. These can potentially spread and take root in your garden when you use the finished compost.

Additionally, using compostable materials like paper towels, coffee filters, and cardboard is a great way to reduce waste, but avoid adding items that are heavily coated or treated with chemicals. By being mindful of what you include in your compost bin, you can create nutrient-rich compost that will benefit your plants and garden.

Not Adding Enough Variety

In the world of composting, adding a variety of materials is key to creating a successful pile. One common mistake that people make is not adding enough variety to their compost. When you only add a limited number of materials, you’re not providing the necessary diversity that is needed for a healthy compost pile.

Think of it like a balanced diet for your garden – just like you wouldn’t want to eat the same thing every day, your compost pile needs a mix of different ingredients to thrive. By adding a variety of materials such as kitchen scraps, yard waste, and even shredded newspaper, you’re providing a range of nutrients and microorganisms that will break down your organic matter into rich, nutrient-dense compost. So, next time you’re adding to your compost pile, make sure to mix it up and give it the variety it needs to truly flourish.

Forgetting to Turn the Pile

composting mistakes

Keeping it Too Dry or Too Wet

composting mistakes Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when it comes to composting. One of the biggest mistakes is keeping the compost pile either too dry or too wet.

If the compost pile is too dry, it won’t break down properly and the process will be slowed down. On the other hand, if the compost pile is too wet, it can become anaerobic and start to smell. So how do you find the right balance? A good rule of thumb is to keep the compost pile moist, but not soggy.

Think of it like a sponge – you want it to be damp enough that it can hold water, but not dripping wet. To achieve this, you can water the pile occasionally, especially during dry spells, or cover it with a tarp during heavy rain to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. By keeping your compost pile at the right moisture level, you’ll ensure that your compost breaks down effectively and you’ll have rich, nutrient-packed soil for your plants.


In conclusion, when it comes to filling your compost bin, the world is your oyster… or should I say, your banana peel? With the right combination of organic materials, you can turn your kitchen scraps into a nutrient-rich feast for your soil. So remember, don’t be a problem, be a composting solution! Feed your bin with a variety of fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, yard waste, and even some shredded paper. Just steer clear of meat, dairy, and oily foods, as they can cause a stinkier situation than forgetting to take out the garbage.

So go ahead, embrace the cycle of decomposition, and let your compost bin be the superhero of your garden, rescuing your soil one banana peel at a time.”


What can I put in a compost bin?
You can put various organic waste in a compost bin, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, yard trimmings, and leaves. Avoid putting meat, dairy products, or oily items in the bin as they can attract pests.

Can I put paper in my compost bin?
Yes, you can put paper in your compost bin. Shredded paper, newspaper, and cardboard are all suitable for composting. However, avoid glossy paper or paper products that are heavily inked.

Can I put grass clippings in my compost bin?
Yes, grass clippings are great for composting. However, it’s important to mix them with other materials like dry leaves or shredded paper to prevent them from forming a dense and smelly mat in the bin.

Can I compost banana peels?
Absolutely! Banana peels are a fantastic composting material. They are rich in nutrients and break down quickly in the compost bin. Just cut them into smaller pieces to speed up the decomposition process.

Is it okay to compost citrus peels?
Yes, citrus peels are suitable for composting. However, they may take longer to break down compared to other organic waste. If you notice that the compost is not breaking down well or has a strong citrus smell, consider limiting the amount of citrus peels you add.

Can I put cooked food scraps in my compost bin?
It’s best to avoid putting cooked food scraps in your compost bin as they can attract pests and rodents. Stick to raw food scraps and vegetable peels instead.

Can I add coffee filters to my compost bin?
Yes, coffee filters can be composted. Ensure that they are made of unbleached paper and do not have any plastic or metal components.

Can I compost tea bags? A8. Yes, tea bags made of natural fibers can be composted. Just make sure to remove any staples or tags before adding them to the bin.

Can I add wood ash to my compost bin?
Wood ash can be added to the compost bin in small quantities. It helps neutralize acidic materials and adds essential minerals. However, excessive amounts can increase the pH level of the compost, so use it sparingly.

Can I compost pet waste?
It’s not recommended to compost pet waste in a regular compost bin as it may contain harmful bacteria. Instead, consider using a separate composting system specifically designed for pet waste, or dispose of it in a designated pet waste bin.

Can I add weeds to my compost bin?
Yes, you can add weeds to your compost bin. However, it’s important to remove any seed heads or parts of the plants that can still grow and spread in your garden.

Can I compost paper towels and napkins?
Yes, paper towels and napkins can be composted as long as they are not heavily soiled with chemicals or food residue. Tear them into smaller pieces to help them break down faster in the compost bin.

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