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23 Surprising Things You Can Compost

Composting is a great way to get rid of “trash” while minimizing your impact on the environment by reducing what ends up in the landfill. Aerobic composting (decomposition of organics via air circulation) does not emit methane, which makes it the best alternative for your organic wastes. Composting fertilizes soil naturally, reduces the waste of biodegradable materials, and suppresses plant diseases and pests by producing beneficial bacteria and fungi! Key materials for your compost pile include nitrogen-rich “greens” (which decompose quickly, like fruit and vegetable scraps), carbon-rich “browns” (which take longer to decompose like twigs), water, and air. Here are some more materials that go above and beyond your lawn clippings or vegetable scraps to get you thinking about your composting possibilities:

From your kitchen
Spoiled soy/rice/almond/coconut milk
Cooked rice and pasta
Old jelly, jam, or preserves
Unwaxed cardboard pizza boxes (cut into small pieces)
Old herbs and spices
Stale beer and wine

From your bathroom
Hair from your hairbrush
100% cotton feminine products (including used ones)
Cotton swabs and cotton balls made from 100% cotton
Nail clippings
Razor trimmings

Around the house
Pencil shavings
Dryer lint (from 100% natural fabrics only)
Dust bunnies
Floor sweepings and crumbs
Used matches
Dead houseplants
Ashes from untreated wood burned in your fireplace, grill, or outdoor fire pit (in small amounts)
Flowers from floral arrangements

From your pet
Fur from the dog or cat brush
Droppings and bedding from your herbivorous pet (do NOT use dog or cat poop!)

Finished compost should have a crumbly and smooth texture, and a dark, rich color – there may be some woody or fibrous pieces, but there should not be anything recognizable. The maturity of your pile depends on what organics you add to it, how often you turn your pile (aeration is key!), and the temperature of your pile (hot temperatures will break down organics quicker). There are endless possibilities for how to use your compost!
With a small investment of your time and very little resources, you can contribute to the solution to our community’s waste problem, while at the same time enriching the soil and improving the health of your yard and garden! Good thing composting is such an easy and frugal thing to do!