Are you interested in making your compost? If yes, then several factors should be considered. Composting is just not limited to piling on kitchen scraps. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or want to fight climate change with regular recycling of scraps, then problems in this case are unavoidable.

Do you know that some scraps must be avoided for the compost while others could be used in the compost bin? That’s why it is crucial to understand about composting dos and don’ts. In this blog, you’ll get all your answers, like what not to put in compost, which will avoid common pitfalls and boost the composting benefits.

What to compost?

1) Garden Waste

  • Dead Plants and Flowers:  Always use disease-free plants because diseased ones lead to pathogens entering into compost.
  • Pruned Branches: You can aid decomposition by cutting branches into smaller sizes. 

2) Brown Materials (Carbon-rich)

  • Shredded Newspaper and Cardboard: If you want to add carbon, then this is a great option. Make sure that they don’t have any kind of colored ink or glossy coatings.
  • Fall Leaves: Dried leaves are one of the classic carbon sources for compositing, and as a result, they are balanced and bulk to the pile.
  • Twigs and Small Branches: If you use shredded or chopped woody materials, then there will boost in airflow and add structure to the structure of your compost.
  • Straw or Hay: Such materials are rich in carbon, which aids in aerating the pile. There is no need to use hay with seeds because it might lead to weed growth.

3) Green Materials (Nitrogen-rich)

  • Kitchen Scraps: Vegetables and fruit scraps are two of the excellent options for composting. Generally, it comprises peels and cores. 
  • Grass Clippings: If you have a lawn, then you can take fresh grass clippings from there because they are high in nitrogen. However, make sure they are not treated with herbicides or pesticides.
  • Coffee Grounds: Never throw away your coffee grounds, as they are rich in nitrogen. With this, you can expect beneficial acidity to be added to the compost.
  • Weeds (Non-seeding): There are common garden weeds with no seeds, which are perfect for composting. However, there is no need to use weeds having seeds because it can lead to their spreading.
  • Eggshells: By using crushed eggshells, you can provide calcium to your compost, which can aid in balancing pH levels.
  • Tea Bags: You can easily compost unbleached tea bags having tea leaves. But make sure that there are no such tags or staples.

4) Miscellaneous

  • Wood Ash: You can add a small amount of ash from untreated wood to aid in neutralizing acidity and provide potassium. 
  • Hair and Pet Fur: It is easy to compost human and pet hair because it comes with nitrogen.

What not to compost and why?

1) Diseased Plants

Make sure whatever plant you’re composting should not be diseased or infested with pests. The composting process might fail to kill the pathogens, which can risk the spreading of disease when you use the resulting compost.

2) Meat and Dairy Products

Due to their strong odors, such items can easily attract pests such as flies and rodents. Decomposition of dairy and meat can even create unpleasant smells, which can slow down your composting process.

3) Pet Waste

Pet feces come with harmful pathogens comprising bacteria and parasites, which might fail to be eliminated with composting. It would be better to separately dispose of pet waste or just switch to a specialized pet waste composting system.

4) Oily or Greasy Foods

Food full of grease, oils, and fats can result in similar issues as in the case of dairy and meat products. They can turn rancid, start emitting a foul odor, and invite pests.

5) Synthetic or Plastic Materials

There is no need to compost non-biodegradable items, synthetic materials, or plastics. Such materials might fail to break down which can lead to contamination of your compost.

6) Lime

You can use the limited quantity of wood ash for adjusting pH levels. However, agricultural lime should be avoided from adding to the compost because it can disrupt your decomposition process. 

7) Synthetic Chemicals and Pesticides

Never add any materials that were treated with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals. Such chemicals harm the beneficial microbes present in your compost. They can easily linger on your finished product.

8) Large, Woody Items 

In comparison to shredded or chopped ones, large woody items might take a bit longer time for decompose. It would be better to chip them separately or just use them for another purpose.


Now, you’re all set to create a successful composting system that will reduce waste and boost the fertility and health of your garden soil. With these dos and don’ts, you might have a good idea about what not to compost at home. Always, remember that composting is a journey that requires dedication and patience. After that, you can reap the rewards in the form of thriving and beautiful plants with a more sustainable lifestyle. 

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