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Compost Ingredients

(To find out if and how you can compost an item, click on it in the list below. We cannot possibly list every kind of food that exists. If the food item you are seeking does not have a listing, check under "F" for Food Wastes.)


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

A alfalfa hay algae animal products
apples, peels, leaves aquatic weeds ash (wood)
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B banana peels bamboo bark
bat guano beer, brewery wastes birthday card
black walnuts bloodmeal, dried blood bones
books bracken (fern) butter
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C cabbage cardboard carrots
cat feces celery cheese
chicken clover coffee grounds
coffee filters color inserts cornstalks
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D dairy products diseased plants dog feces
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E egg shells evergreen leaves
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F fat feathers feces
fish flowers food wastes
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G grain chaff, hulls grapefruit grass clippings
grease greeting cards
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H hair hay holly leaves
houseplants
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I insect-ridden plants ivy
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J junk mail
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K kitty litter
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L lard lake weed laurel leaves
lawn trimmings leaves legume shells
lettuce lime litter
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M magazines manure mayonnaise
meat, meat bones milk
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N newspaper nut shells
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O oak leaves oat straw oils of any kind
onion peel orange peel
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P paper pet feces peanut butter
pears pet food pine needles
pineapple poisonous plants potatoes
prunings pumpkins
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Q no items under Q
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R rhododendron rose prunings
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S salad dressing sawdust seaweed
sewage sludge socks sod
sour cream squash straw
string sugarcane wastes
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T tea bags tea leaves tomatoes
trees, diseased turnip leaves twigs
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U urine
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V vegetables vegetable oil
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W wallboard walnuts weeds
wood chips woody wastes
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X no items under X
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Y yard trimmings yogurt yogurt cups
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Z no items under Z
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This information has been compiled through reading many resources, my own experience and the experience of other composters. Authors and experts often disagree on details. This list is meant as a guide. Research and experimentation will tell you what works for you. Health and safety considerations should always be top priority. Call your solid waste department for local guidelines / ordinances related to home composting.

If there is any doubt as to toxicity of materials going into a pile, do not use them. Be sure to use only organic materials in your compost piles, excluding non-organics and organics which have been treated with non-organics (e.g., plywood will decompose, but it has been treated heavily with glue.)

Notation: Two numbers separated by a colon indicate the estimated carbon to nitrogen ratio of the material. These are only guidelines and should not be considered to be exact. Compost materials should be combined to reach an ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio of (30:1).

Note added 2010:
I recommend that you also read this series of articles on Compost Ingredients I wrote for the LEARN section of the CompostMania web site: Compost Ingredients:

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Compost fall leaves, hay bales, holly wreaths, pine trees, etc. Compost pumpkins (food waste) in a compost pile.
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REFERENCE

  1. Glossary
  2. Calculate C : N Ratio
  3. FAQ on Composting
  4. ** Compost Ingredients **

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BUILD A PILE

  1. Build a Compost Pile: Basics
  2. Build a Pile: Advanced
  3. More on Building a Pile
  4. ** Compost Ingredients **
  5. Use Finished Compost
  6. Leon's Composting

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