Spreetail Blog

What to Compost and What Not to Compost

The Do's and Don'ts of Composting for Beginners


by Maria Pontiero
Apr 22, 2019

Composting not only reduces your carbon footprint, but it also works as an excellent all-natural fertilizer for your plants and flowers. Once you pick out your composter, it’s time to start making rich, healthy compost for your garden.  

One of the benefits of having your own compost is deciding what you put it in. The more varied your ingredients are the richer the finished product. Before you begin composting, it’s good to knowthe specific products and materials that you can and cannot compost. To ensure a healthy compost mixture follow our complete guide below. 

What to Compost 

For a successful compost you will need a healthy mixture of green and material. A mix of green and brown compost will ensure that your compost mixture breaks down. When creating your compost put the following in your mixture: 

Browns for the Compost 

  • Leaves 
  • Pine needles 
  • Small twigs 
  • Chipped tree branches/bark 
  • Straw or hay 
  • Sawdust  
  • Corn stalks 
  • Paper, newspaper, printing paper, napkins, coffee filters 
  • Dryer lint 
  • Cardboard, without any waxy coatings 

Greens for the Compost 

  • Green clippings 
  • Coffee grounds 
  • Tea bags 
  • Vegetables and fruit scraps 
  • Trimmings from perennial and annual plants 
  • Annual weeds without seeds 
  • Eggshells

What Not to Compost 

There are certain products that should never be placed in your compost. For example, you won’t want to put any meat or dairy products in your compost. These will cause unwanted smells and pests. You’ll know if your compost is healthy if it smells like earthy soil. To keep a healthy compost be sure to not include the following products:  

  • Labels on fruit and vegetables 
  • Meat 
  • Butter 
  • Milk 
  • Long twigs or branches 
  • Animal waste 
  • Weeds, like dandelions or thistles 
  • Plastic 
  • Glass 

For more info on how to compost, check out 4 Things You Need to Know About Composting.  

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