20 Things Not To Put In Your Compost

Woman throwing unused sliced vegetable into trash bin for compostCompost is a rich addition to any garden. Who doesn't love a fist full of nutrient-rich, fertile soil that makes your plants perk up with happiness? You know the things you can put in your compost. But what should you not put in your compost? We have researched this to make sure you don't accidentally ruin your next batch of compost!

We've compiled this handy list of twenty things not to put in your compost bin.

  1. Meat Scraps
  2. Bones
  3. Cheese Rinds
  4. Milk
  5. Butter
  6. Olive Oil
  7. Bacon Grease
  8. Lard
  9. Ash from your fireplace
  10. Cat Litter
  11. Pet Feces
  12. Citrus Peels
  13. Leftover medicines
  14. Plastic containers
  15. Glossy or coated paper
  16. Sticky paper like the labels on your fruit
  17. Plant Trimmings treated with pesticides
  18. Black Walnut trimmings or shells
  19. Sawdust or scrap from pressure-treated woods
  20. Conifer branches and trimmings

Do some of these surprise you? Want to know why? Keep reading and will explain exactly why these items are a no-no for your compost bin.

Meats And Fats Are Not Good For Your Compost

Kitchen scraps are pretty much the gold standard for composting. It's why many of us get started with composting. We hate to think of our food scraps going into a trash can or the landfill when they could go to work for us. But not all kitchen scraps are created equal when it comes to composting.

Odors can escape from the vent holes on this handy countertop compost bin. Because odors are one of the issues with certain food scraps, it's why we don't compost them. But you need these air holes for your compost to start to break down and breathe. Compost heats up. The air holes help let the heat out, as well as the odor. Read on to find out what we mean.

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Meat Scraps & Bones Should Not Be In Your Compost

Typically you want to avoid putting any meat scrap or bone into your compost. Meat scraps can carry pathogens you don't want seeping into your garden. They might attract pests, and they can create an unpleasant odor. Best to send these guys to the landfill.

Cheese Rinds, Milk, Butter: No-No's For Composting

With dairy products, it's less a risk of pathogens and more of a chance of attracting pests, like rodents, and the odor that comes from animal products.

Fats Like Olive Oil, Lard, Bacon Grease Should Not Go In Your Compost.

This is the same as dairy products. Fats in your compost will attract rodents and insects, and who wants those hanging around the compost bin?

Household Items That Are Not Okay For A Compost Bin

You might think of any natural waste as being okay to compost, but it's not true. A few things are hanging around your house that are not acceptable for the compost pile. Some are kind of obvious, others maybe not as much. Read on to see if you had any misconceptions about the items below.

(If it's all too confusing, you can always forgo the composting and buy it already done. )

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Coal Or Ash

You've had a great bbq or blazed a super fire in your fireplace, and you want to dispose of your charcoal briquettes or your ash. It would seem that since the charred remains of wood are something that started as compostable, that they would remain compostable after burning, but it's not the case. Briquettes often contain chemicals that can harm the soil. With wood ash, it may mess with the Ph of your soil.

Cat Litter and Pet Feces

These two should seem obvious, but you might think because they're natural (speaking of clay litter and feces) that it'd be okay. But pet feces and the litter can contain harmful pathogens, bacteria, and germs that you don't want coming back through your garden vegetables.

Citrus Peels

Citrus peels are a kitchen scrap, but if you're hoping to have worms in your compost, you'll want to leave it out. The acidity of the citrus can create a hostile environment for the worms working so hard to turn your compost into soil.

Leftover Medicines

You might think when you have a few pills left over from a prescription that you could toss them into the pile and let them disintegrate. But don't do this, as your soil can become contaminated by the medication.

Plastic Containers

We've all seen the stories about the horrible amount of plastic in the oceans and how it tumbles down into micro-fragments. Well, in the soil, it's just not going to go anywhere. So don't put plastic in your compost.

Glossy Or Coated Paper

While you can compost most paper products, steer clear of those covered in a shiny finish. That shine is made of plastics and may contain toxins that you don't want in your precious compost.

Sticky Labels From Fruit and Vegetables

Be sure and pull that sticky label off of your mango skin before you toss it in the compost bin. They don't biodegrade and are typically made of food-grade plastic. Which, as we've already mentioned, won't break down in your soil.

Plant Trimmings That Shouldn't Be In Your Compost.

Even though things like leaves and lawn clippings and trimmings are essential to a healthy balance in your compost bin, you'll want to steer clear of a few things. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it won't carry risks for certain types of plants. And of course, anything that contains chemicals or pesticides is just a common sense thing to avoid.

A good pruning sheer is essential for trimming plants and cutting things down for your compost bin. Click here to see these on Amazon.

Plant Trimmings Treated With Pesticides

If you've had a particularly serious case of pests and decided to treat them with a pesticide, don't put these trimmings and clippings in your compost.

Black Walnut Trimmings

If you're lucky enough to have a black walnut tree on your property, rejoice. However, don't put its trimmings in your compost bin. The black walnut can release substances that might be harmful to the plants that draw nutrients from your compost, particularly tomatoes.

Sawdust Or Scrap From Pressure Treated Wood

Any wood that's been treated, whether paint or varnish or pressure-treated woods, is a definite no for your compost bin. The chemicals and substances used for the finishes do not break down and can negatively affect the composting process.

Conifer Branches And Trimming

Though these can technically be composted, you'll want to avoid them. They take ages and ages to break down (even when broken down into smaller pieces), and the acidity of the plant can upset the balance of your compost bin. Their resin can also be kind of toxic.

Hopefully, now you have a clear understanding of the things not to put in your compost bin. There's still plenty you can put into the bin, so get started and make that garden beautiful.

Now that you're an expert, you've earned the right to wear the T-shirt.

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Check out these other posts on Garden Tab for your gardening needs:

How Long Does it Take to Compost in a Tumbler?

How To Improve Clay Soil For Lawns

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