Green Living

What Materials Can Be Composted?

If you’re looking at what materials can be composted, thereby turning garden and other vegetable waste into your own dark, rich productive soil fertilizer, you might be surprised to hear that pretty much any type of vegetable waste can be composted.

This is exactly why it is a great way to immediately start recycling all your peels and skins that would usually go into the dustbin!

Did you know that in addition to vegetables and fruit waste, you can also compost materials that are made of plants like paper, clean sawdust and dryer lint, as long as it comes from clothes that are made of natural fibres?

If there’s anything you take away from this article, it is the following: the best way to start your compost pile is to do it with 2-to-3 parts brown materials and 1-part green materials.

What are green materials?

Let’s start with the most known ones: green materials are added to compost because they add moisture to the heap and nitrogen to the finished product.

Here are some examples of green materials:

  • Kitchen scraps:
    All those fruit and vegetable peels, tea bags without staples, coffee grounds, nut shells and crushed eggshells can all go into the compost heap. Meat, bones and fish should be avoided because they attract pests. Dairy products and scraps with oily residue should also not be added into the compost pile. Orange, banana and peach peels might have pesticide residue, but this should not be a problem with organic fruits.
  • Moist yard waste:
    Green leaves, stems, flowers and grass clippings can all be added into your compost heap provided they have not been treated with herbicides. Avoid weeds that have already gone into seed as these seeds will sprout during the composting process. Avoid putting any diseased plants into the compost heap.
  • Some animal wastes:
    Manure from animals like cows, chickens, horses, and rabbits are perfectly safe to compost. It has been proven that animal waste is a great compost activator and can speed up the process even more efficiently. When you add animal waste to the pile, the rest of the ingredients break down faster. You should, however, not add pet manure to the pile if you plan to use the finished product on food crops, as this could potentially lead to the spreading of disease.

What are brown materials?

These materials might be known to decompose nicely, but people might not necessarily have put two and two together. For starters, brown materials are usually dry and rich in carbon. However, one needs to careful not to overdo this onto your compost heap, as we tend to have plenty of this to throw away.

Some great examples of brown composting include the following:

  • Woody waste: 
    So-called wood chips, sawdust, and ashes from clean materials can all go into the compost heap, but it is wise to use them sparingly because they are high in carbon.
  • Dry Yard Waste:
    This can include things like dry leaves, pine needles, straw and dry twigs. Hay makes for great composting material as well, but it isn’t always ideal because it contains seeds which might start sprouting during the composting process. Large amounts of pine needles should be avoided because they are highly acidic, also, avoid composting leaves or twigs from black walnut trees.
  • Paper products: 
    All that office paper, newspaper, cardboard and toilet rolls can all be added onto your compost pile. It would be best to shred these materials before adding them to the bin so that they break down easier and don’t get matted. You should, however, avoid composting glossy paper or paper with colored ink.

Composting is a great way to start living a more conscientious and ‘green’ lifestyle!

It allows you to take the scraps from the table and plough them back into the earth where they came from.

All-in-all, composting has been proven to make your garden glow and add make your crops extra beautiful. Furthermore, it is a safe and easy process that you can follow and make as and when you need compost for your garden.


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