Author Options:

what can be put on the compost pile? All kitchen waste material ? Answered

18 Replies

afridave (author)2010-10-19

id like to suggest that you pee on your compost heap every now and then (if your a male its easy if your not its more problematic) as i believe pee contains saltpeter (which i believe is essentially nitrgen) which aids decomposition

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Anthony Claro (author)2009-04-02

Anything organic can be put on the compost pile, in other words if it was alive at a point in time. Glass, paper, plastic etc will not do. if you were a bacteria would you eat it?

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

filmnuts (author)Anthony Claro2010-03-24

This is incorrect.  Meat and seafood should not be put in compost.  While they will decompose, they will attract wild animals such as mice, raccoons and coyotes.  Even if you had a sealed, animal-proof container, unless it was airtight (in which case the contents wouldn't compost well), the smell would still attract these unwanted visitors.

Also, paper can be composted, but it's better to recycle it.  The exception to this is if the paper is dirty, like a used paper napkin or paper towel, in which case it can't be recycled, then it is best to compost it.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

mibz man (author)2010-03-16

you can put in anything that was once a plant ie bread,lettuce, apple cores, that kind of stuff

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Masterdude (author)2009-12-30

You can put most kitchen waste in a compost including vegetable and fruit scraps but avoid adding meat, fat, and dairy products in a compost because they will attract animals and insects and will rot. Eggshells can be added but they must be cleaned of the yolk. In short most kitchen scraps which came from plants can be added. Other things that you should avoid are plastics, petroleum products, and waxed paper.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

tincanz (author)Masterdude2010-02-21

also avoid plant parts with seeds...

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Masterdude (author)tincanz2010-02-22

Yes. And especially weeds with seeds. There's an old saying:

-"One years weeds, is many years of seeds."

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

d2j5 (author)2009-12-07

no potato skins. but it also depends if your long-term composting or short-term composting. the potato skins might have a chemical that prevents them from growing in the bag but i dont know this totaly.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

LaMar Solarcabin (author)2009-11-10

Meat should not be put in a compost pile as it will rot  and attract flies and maggots and bacteria that could still be in raw meat will make compost unsafe for gardens.

Dog and cat feces should not be put in compost if you will be using it on gardens. Their feces can have parasites that harm humans.

Anything else that was once alive can be composted including paper.

Shred paper and big items for faster composting

Microbes like temperatures above 50 degrees and below 98 degrees and in winter you can cover your composter with a small greenhouse to get better results.

Compost tumblers will keep animals, rodents, and cockroaches out of the pile.

Keep compost moist but not soaking wet and turn outside edges into middle for faster composting.

You can make nutrient rich compost tea by putting well composted material in a bucket 1/3rd compost to 2/3 water and letting it sit for a couple of days. Stir occasionally. This will be great to pour on house plants!

Use fresh compost on gardens and around trees and till it into the soil and water it into the ground where the nutrients get to the roots.

If you like homesteading and off grid homes you can see mine for ideas:


Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

johngalt929 (author)2009-04-16

We currently compost at our suburban home and have done so for quite a long time

We compost all the normal things, but also toss in:
leftovers from the table (cooked food)
small amounts of meat and trimmings, but not whole carcasses, for example
shrub branches (on the bottom of a new pile, they take a while longer to compost, but also provide some air circulation if you are building a layered pile.)

In the end, I'd say we toss 20 pounds or organics in the pile a week for a family of 5, and almost nothing organic other than recyclable paper goes to the curb.

*caveat* we have an open pile and support a happy family of mice. I know that's probably not great, but they seem to be happy in there and don't come in to the house. I'm in the process of building a tumbler to keep more of the rodents out, but they haven't seemed to cause a problem, and are kept in check by stray cats that wander through our yard.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Antsia (author)2009-04-05

I live on the Bering Sea Coast and use a lot of the drift I find on our beaches when I build or amend my compost pile.

Seaweeds, dried starfish, old fish bones & shells - barnacles especially, are great for adding into the pile.

What I have found works great is to build a small driftwood fire and toss the barnacles and other stuff into the fire and when it has burned out I shovel the ashes and some of the sand into buckets and later scatter it all on the pile at various times of the year - all to be turned under.

I add fresh kelp and seaweeds in the fall because they will reduce easily over the winter. I also add cut and chopped grasses, fish bones after dinner along with other food leftovers... I don't eat red meat so I don't worry about dumping that kind of stuff... altho I have burned bones to add on occasion... but I prefer to gather clean organics myself. Basically anything that is clean, non toxic - I mean, you don't want to add poison ivy to your compost pile, duh!

If you used stuff off the beach be very careful that wood for example is not contaminated with creosote from old broken pilings that drift around the world for years and years. Also, be mindful of the plastic detritus that can mix in with the seaweeds that drift up on shore.

Since I only need a small compost pile what I remove from the beaches is negligible and doesn't interrupt the natural course of events. I do find a lot of plastic tho and I collect it and take to that part of our local landfill that is reserved for plastic.

I highly recommend that you get a copy of Rodale's "Organic Gardening". Even the old used books have the basics of what you need to start with...Absolutely Learn about the NPK (N=Nitrogen, P=Phosporus & K=Potassium) ratio as that is probably the most important thing you need to know about soil next to it's acidity levels. Each kind of plant needs different nutrients to thrive and the whole idea behind a compost pile is to ammend i.e. add the best stuff you can to it - so as to feed your plants and soil creatures.

If you understand what NPK is then you can research the stuff that you can find near where you live and see what it is made of.

I may not be explaining this clearly - that's why I suggest that Book. There are also lots of web sites too. look for the ones that emphasize organic ingredients and explain how to do things.

Not sure if it is ok to recommend web sites but one I found that seems to be pretty good and has a healthy forum of knowledgeable people is: helpfulgardener.com

In all the books and on the websites You will find out how to test your soil to find out what you may need to add. You will find out what kinds things to add to the pile based on with kind of nutrient it will add. The starfish I add for example have a lot of nitrogen as well as a small amount of potassium and phosphorous and by toasting them in the driftwood fires I breakdown the calcium so it is easier to get into the soil.

OK - have fun


Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

mctylr (author)2009-04-03

While paper is based upon wood pulp, it is typically also bleached (to make it white or other bright colours), and the inks and gloss (think glossy magazine photos and covers) can be toxic. So I would suggest using a paper / cardboard recycling program if available.

Also I have seen statements that paper towel and facial tissues (Kleenex) should not to be disposed into residential septic systems, so I strongly suspect they are not recommended for composting either. I suspect they have chemicals added to make these paper products stronger and not turn into an useless ball of mush from normal usage (i.e. getting them wet).

Human and animal feces is not sterile (while urine is), and is a prime vector of spreading disease (feces can also contaminate the run-off water, just like a pesticide) to both humans and animals near the compost and in particular through any plants or food from a garden / lawn that uses such compost.. So, please do not compost feces (human or animal excrement, otherwise known as poop). Toronto's Green Bin program does take diapers, but at least the diaper itself is diverted to the dump (along with 22% of their Green Bin program)

My family has composted for approximately 20 years, and to reduce pests (large or small) we don't dispose of meats (including animal fats) into the compost. But in Canada many municipal waste disposal services that take composting will take meats and animal fat waste in my own personal experience.

I'm assuming this is home (or hobby farm) composting for your own gardening use. If the compost is being handled by your regional or municipal waste management, check with your local government for the particulars in your area.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

oola (author)2009-04-02

The city I live in has started a "green" bin program, in which we put all the things people have listed before me... AND MEAT. Bones, fat, meat, raw, cooked, eggs and shells, you name it, they'll take it. Funny enough, they don't accept diapers or larger animal waste (no kitty or doggy poohs, but mice and hamsters and the like are fine)...but in Toronto, they accept ALL of that. I think the thing about the meats and fats has just to do with the convenience and smelliness of doing it in your backyard. In a small yard like mine, where the kids play and you can smell the "yuckies" as soon as you walk out the door, leave out the animal products. If you have an acre or two, and are happy trotting your compost out across a field, have at 'er. Biological is compostible.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

domestic_engineer (author)2009-04-02

-Kitchen scraps, but no meat, dairy, or really fatty things (they smell and attract animals)
- Paper towels, from kitchen cleanups.
- paper,card board, chip board. and junk mail, shredded.
- egg shells, (rinsed out) and egg cartons
- coffee grinds and paper filter
-yard waste, leaves, sticks broken up small, (it helps if you shred your leaves, or mash them up)
- Urine ( I know it's gross, but it really gets stuff going. If you're potty training a kid, you have to dump out the little potty anyway, so why not put it in the compost bin.
also: dryer lint, full vacuum cleaner bag, hair from a hair cut, scraps of cotton or wool fabric, yarn, or thread, sawdust, small scraps or wood. popsicle sticks,

We try to compost everything that we can, so that we have minimal amount of trash, and also it helps eliminate odors from the trash.

you want a good mix of green and brown things in you bin. ( green= fresh, kitchen scraps, etc. brown= dry, paper, brown leaves)
if the bin gets too stinky, you need more brown. the bin should be moist, steaming, and not stinky. keep in a fairly sunny area, and turn often.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

pinkberry03 (author)2009-03-29

not just kitchen wastes are needed in a compost pile you can put papers wqhich are not used left overs and manure! manure is the best to put in the compost pile because it has the vitamins and minerals especially if you yhave a pet in your house they could help

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

Kryptonite (author)2009-03-22

Kitchen waste material is mostly compostable, bit the pnly thing you should be aware of is cytrus peels, they take a very long time to decompose unless shredded very finely. Cooked foods generally should not be put into a compost bin, and neither should meets of any kind.

This wasnt part of your question, but; if you're choosing a compost bin, choose black, and it shouldn't have a diametre of more than a square metre. This is because for compost to decompose, it needs heat of some sort, other wise the decomposing procedure will take much longer. Have a hole/s in the bottom for worm & soldier fly larvae to come & eat the scraps, and poop it out as lovely soil.

P.S:. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soldier_fly <click here for a description of soldier fly, they're different from maggots. You don't want maggot in your compost, but soldier fly are good.

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer

BioZone (author)2009-03-20

DO put these in your compost bin:
Vegetable peelings, Fruit peel and cores, juicer leftovers, Grass clippings - in moderate amounts, Twigs, hedge trimmings etc., Leaves, Teabags and coffee grounds, Pet and human hair, Feathers, Egg shells (crushed), Soft cardboard e.g. egg cartons, ripped into small pieces

DON'T put these in your compost bin:
Branches, Huge amounts of grass clippings, Rocks, Human waste, Dog and cat waste, Cooked or baked foods, Meat, raw or cooked, Dairy waste, Starchy food waste (bread etc.)

Hope that helps. =)

Select as Best AnswerUndo Best Answer