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95 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Compost

95 Things You Didn’t Know You Can Compost

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Composting is a rewarding and easy practice once you get the gist of it. Most beginner gardeners and eco-enthusiasts already know they can add fruit and vegetable peels, clippings, and leaves to their compost pile.

But what about those coffee filters you constantly throw away? Or the lint you keep finding in your washing machine?

You can compost these and many more common household items. The following list is supposed to get your juices flowing and inspire you to find more things you can compost and keep the landfills as empty as you can.

Here’s how you can start!

Kitchen Scraps And Items

1. Vegetable and fruit peels and scraps

2. Used coffee grounds and filters

3. Organic tea bags made from cotton or hemp

4. Tea leaves

5. Spoiled milk (but use it in moderation so that you don’t attract pests)

6. Old and moldy cheese (dairy can attract pests, so don’t add too much)

7. Melted ice cream (add in moderation because dairy can attract pests)

8. Spoiled tomato or pasta sauce

9. Spoiled tempeh or tofu

10. Crumbs you find on counters, tabletops, and floors

11. Cooked rice

12. Cooked pasta

13. Stale bread, pitas, and tortillas

14. Stale saltine crackers, tortilla chips, potato chips, and pretzels

15. Stale crushed or chopped candy

16. Stale energy and protein bars

17. Stale beer and wine

18. Stale sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds (chop them up so that they don’t accidentally germinate)

19. Avocado pits (chop them up so that they don’t accidentally germinate)

20. Peanut shells

21. Nut shells (try not to use walnut shells because they may be harmful to other plants)

22. Pizza crust

23. Nori, kemp, or seaweed

24. Old oatmeal

25. Crushed eggshells

26. Popcorn kernels (unpopped or burnt)

27. Old preserves, jam, and jelly

28. Old and stale herbs, spices, and condiments

29. Used kitchen towels and paper napkins

30. Shredded paper towel rolls

31. Balled up or ripped paper bags

32. Pizza boxes cut into smaller pieces

33. Cardboard boxes from rice, pasta, cereals, etc. (just remember to remove any plastic and rip it into smaller pieces)

34. Egg cartons (if they’re made from natural materials)

35. Used paper plates (if they don’t have a wax coating)

36. Chopped wine corks (they decompose faster this way)

37. Toothpicks 

38. Bamboo skewers

39. Paper cupcake cups

Garden And Household Waste

1. Clumps of dust 

2. Dustpan contents (remove any inorganic materials, such as coins, Lego, etc.)

3. Crumbs from under couch cushions (remove any inorganic materials)

4. Newspapers (shred or rip them into smaller pieces)

5. Unsolicited mail (shred them and remove any plastic or coating)

6. Subscription cards from magazines (shred them to decompose more easily)

7. Burlap sacks (rip them into smaller pieces)

8. Old rope and twine (only use natural and unwaxed materials and chop them into smaller pieces)

9. Pruned leaves from houseplants

10. Dead indoor plants and their growing medium

11. Flowers from bouquets and floral arrangements 

12. Organic potpourri

13. Used matches

14. Wood ashes from untreated wood (add it in very small amounts)

15. Grass clippings

16. Dead fall leaves

17. Sawdust (don’t use the wood if it’s been stained, painted, or pressure-treated)

Bathroom Materials

1. Recycled facial tissues

2. Nail clippings

3. Hair you collect in your hairbrush

4. Trimmings from an electric razor

5. Menstrual blood

6. Urine

7. Organic and natural old loofahs (cut them up to decompose more easily)

8. 100% cotton cotton balls

9. 100% cotton cotton swabs and cardboard sticks (don’t use plastic ones)

10. Shredded toilet paper rolls 

Personal Items

It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to bury these deeper in the compost pile!

1. 100% natural condoms made from lambskin or latex

2. 100% natural tampons and sanitary pads made from cotton (you can even use used ones)

3. Tampon applicators if they’re made from cardboard

Laundry Room Materials

1. Dryer and washing machine lint (but only from 100% natural fabrics!)

2. Old cotton jeans and other clothes (cut them into smaller pieces) 

3. Shredded cotton fabric scraps

4. Old wool clothes (cut them into smaller pieces)

5. Old cotton bed sheets and towels (cut them into smaller pieces)

Office Supply

1. Bills and documents on plain paper (shred them to decompose more easily)

2. Envelopes (shred them and remove the plastic if there is any)

3. Pencil shavings

4. Shredded sticky notes

5. Old business cards (shred them to decompose more easily and make sure they’re not glossy or embossed)

Party And Holiday Supplies

1. Rolls from wrapping paper (just make sure cut them into smaller pieces)

2. Crepe paper streamers (shred them before composting to decompose more easily)

3. Paper table cloths, non-glossy and non-plastic wrapping paper, and raffia (tear them into smaller pieces)

4. Latex balloons (don’t add any other kind)

5. Hay bales if you used them for fall decor (just break them into smaller pieces)

6. Natural holiday garlands (rip them apart and cut them into smaller pieces)

7. Jack O’lanterns (smash them beforehand)

8. Evergreen wreaths (rip them apart and cut them into smaller pieces with pruners first)

9. Real wood Christmas trees (chop them up in a wood chipper or use heavy-duty pruners)


1. Dog or cat fur you collect 

2. Horse, cow, pig, sheep, goat, or chicken manure

3. Droppings and bedding from herbivorous pets, such as rabbits, gerbils, hamsters, etc. (don’t use cat or dog poop as it can contain disease-bearing germs)

4. Bedding and droppings from a snake terrarium or bird cage

5. Feathers

6. Dry dog, cat, or fish food

7. Alfalfa hay or pellets (if you use it to feed rabbits, gerbils, etc.)

Recycling food waste is better than throwing it away, and the longer you’re into this practice, the more new composting materials you will find.

You’ll take a second look at everything you think of throwing into the trash can and ask yourselves: “Can I compost this?” You’d be surprised to hear often the answer is yes!