You can compost more than you think. It’s amazing once you start digging into “what can I put in my compost bin”. You discover that there are SO many items that will decompose nicely… it’s not just fruit and vegetable scraps, although they are the most well known.
Composting IS a great way to use up food waste, but don’t forget to consider other household products, pet-related items, and things outside your house for more compost bin additions!
What follows is a list of 79 things that you can add to your compost bin. Some may surprise you! But all will add something to your mix, and return nutrients or other organic matter back to the soil, making it rich and fertile.
What Can I Put In My Compost Bin: The Kitchen
- Fruits and Vegetables: Rotten or Scraps
- Napkins (unbleached and/or recyclable)
- Pizza crusts (but not the greasy cardboard pizza box)
- Pulp leftover from juicing
- Spoiled soy/rice/almond/coconut milk
- Old spices – because they are made from natural products like seeds and plants, they will biodegrade over time.
- Popcorn kernels
- Old or burnt oatmeal
- Stale tortilla chips or potato chips (baked decomposes faster than deep-fried)
- Freezer burnt fruit and vegetables that you don’t want to eat anymore
- Potato peels
- Home-made canned food just doesn’t look right
- Corn on the cob (the husks and cob both)
- Stale bread
- Egg shells
- Leftover cooked rice or barley
- Used coffee grinds AND the used coffee filter
- Used tea bags and loose leaf tea
- Pasta leftovers (noodles only is preferable – no sauce, or you’ll attract animals)
- Nut shells of any type (other than walnut)
- Pits from olives, cherries, peaches, etc.
- Lobster shells that have been well rinsed
- Pumpkins: all parts will compost equally well
- Rhubarb leaves & stems
- Bread crusts
- Melted iced cream (small amounts)
- Mouldy cheese (small amounts)
- Rotten banana peels, or old frozen bananas from your freezer that you’ll never turn into banana bread
- Cardboard egg cartons (preferably chopped up)
- Used paper plates (no wax coating)
- Stale protein or energy bars
- Paper cupcake or muffin liners
- Stale unsweetened cereal
What Can I Put In My Compost Bin: Pets
- The hay from your pet beds
- Chicken droppings (chicken fertilizer is incredible for grass, so after sweeping out your backyard chicken coop, head to the compost bin with the droppings)
- Bird seed
- Fur or pet hair after a trim
- Bird droppings & the newspaper base from the bird cage
- Rabbit droppings
- Guinea pig droppings
- Cow, goat, or sheep manure
- Dry dog and cat food
- Dry fish pellets
What Can I Put In My Compost Bin: Outdoors
- Grass clippings
- Human hair (from a hair brush or after a hair cut).
- Dead flies and bees
- Leaves from your eavestroughs
- Wood chips
- Sea weed or kelp (assuming you live close to a beach, that is. It has tons of nutrients in it that your garden will love).
- Wood ash (small amounts is best, but it’s a great source of potassium)
- Tree bark
- Christmas Trees (chopped up and chipped up)
- Evergreen garlands
What Can I Put In My Compost Bin: Around The House
- Shavings from pencils and colored pencils/pencil crayons
- Dust and lint from inside your vacuum cleaner
- Dust bunnies under your bed
- Used up match sticks
- Brown paper bags
- Paper towels
- Shredded up newspapers (they are made from recyclable paper anyways)
- Uncoated or previously recycled paper
- House plants that have died
- Cut flowers that have seen better days
- Dryer lint
- Shredded cardboard
- 100% latex or lambskin condoms
- Crepe paper streamers
- 100% cotton cotton-balls
- PURE wool products like old socks and mitts
- 100% leather products that have seen better days (wallets, belts, watch bands)
- Nail clippings
- Post-It Notes (the glue is non-toxic)
- Cardboard tampon applicators
- Burlap sacks
- Potpourri (natural)
And there you have it, 79 things you can put in your compost bin! Which surprised you most? Another other strange or interesting ones I should add? Drop me a comment below if you’d like!
What Not To Compost: List of 39 Items That Are Better Trashed
How Does Composting Work Anyways?
Curious about how composting actually works? Sometimes the easiest way to understand something is watch and hear how it’s explained to children… the instructors use simple and straightforward language, and use pictures and diagrams that are super easy to follow. Here’s a great little clip that explains composting well. Check it out:
For more information on composting and how you can make the most of the things already around your home, check out this article here called “All About Composting“.
10 thoughts on “What Can I Put In My Compost Bin? 79 Things You Can Compost”
I wonder about the newspaper and the dryer lint. What do they use to print on paper these days? And microfibers in the lint…aren’t we supposed to be highly concerned about microfibers in the environment?
Thanks for your question. I don’t claim to be an environmental expert at all, but pretty sure it’s still ok – you just want to make sure you mix your shredded newspaper with greens, about an even mix at minimum. I did some more research/reading around on it just to be sure. Check out this article all about recycling newspaper for some more reading.
Can you recycle meat fat. Mine always gets cut off, and thrown away.
Hi there. Thanks for your question. I believe the answer is no – you can not recycle meat fat. Sorry!
The birds will love it though!
Can you put Spanish moss in compost
Thanks for your question! I’m a bit stumped on this one, to be honest. I did some googling on it for you, and I get some conflicting answers, but MOST seem to say yes. This gardening blog here for example says that Spanish moss would be just fine and should actually break down fairly quickly! I’d give it a go myself! Good luck!
Can we compost melon rinds, lemon rinds and such?
I do! Go for it!