What Can You Compost? a List of Compostables

Posted by Mrs Money on June 11th, 2010

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It’s funny, every time I sweep up dog hair and put it in the compost bin, it drives Mr. Money crazy! He doesn’t believe, but I know for a fact you can compost dog hair.  I’ve been doing it for two years and he had no idea it was going in the compost bin!  The joke is on him.  There are a lot of people that aren’t sure of what you can compost, so I decided I’m going to share a list of things that you really can compost.  Some are pretty common; others may not be.

What you can compost

-Paid bills and other paper scraps
-The contents of your vacuum (sorry Mr. Money!)
-Dog or cat hair
-Tea bags
-Latex (only) condoms (?!)
-Coffee grounds
-Egg shells
-Vegetable scraps
-Tissues
-Human hair
-Any nut or soy milk
-Wool socks
-Brown paper bags
-Newspapers
-Nail clippings
-Fireplace ashes
-Poop (Animal)
-Crumbs from your counters
-Toilet paper rolls
-Dryer lint
-Old cotton clothing (cut into very small pieces)
-Dry pet food
-Dead flowers
-Roadkill (don’t do this at home!)

Do you compost? Are you surprised at what you can compost?

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22 Responses to “What Can You Compost? a List of Compostables”


  1. I compost mostly food waste, leaves, garden waste. I didn’t know about some of these things, but I will have to remember the next time I throw out my vacuum bag to throw it in the compost pile instead.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kristia- I love throwing the vacuum bag contents in there but it drives my hubby crazy ;)

    [Reply]

  2. We compost. It took a while to feel comfortable with it, and we’re still figuring some of it out (if you could do a list of what you CANT compost, that would be helpful too!). I am amazed at the way scraps and garbage transform over time into rich material for the garden. At our old house, we regularly found blue jays perched on our compost – they were digging for worms! So worms and birds like compost. The chemical processes are amazing too – who knew that leaving the right kind of garbage and scraps out could generate heat? We’ve gotten to the point where I feel bad when we go to a friend’s house and they toss out the veggie scraps and banana peels. ;)

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    ami- Woo! I will definitely make a list of what you can’t compost! Great idea. That’s so cool that the birds were by your compost! I know- the heat that comes off it is amazing. I know what you mean about watching people throw away banana peels and veggie scraps- I’ve been tempted to steal them and take them home, but that would be so weird!

    [Reply]

  3. Wow, I was surprised by that list! In particular the latex condoms! I dind’t know that latex was biodegradable? I’m surprised that it break down?

    Very impressive list, since we have a dog, I might actually do that with her hair, she sheds ALL the time (or so it seems)!

    thx

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Money Reasons- Latex is made of sap from the rubber tree. When it’s not wet it is biodegradable. Of course, I don’t know if I’d be able to bring myself to compost condoms!! LOL

    Mine shed ALL the time too! It drives me absolutely batty.

    [Reply]

  4. Wool socks! Of course! I’m always looking for new stuff to throw in the composter. I love watching my unusables become nice useful soil! I never thought of wool socks. I’ve always been throwing them out at the end of their life.

    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Learn Save Invest- It’s cool, isn’t it? Let me know how long it takes them to break down. :)

    [Reply]

  5. I didn’t think latex was biodegradeable either…cool. My husband and I were just talking about starting a compost pile, but our yard is tiny. How smelly is it?

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    BITFS- I don’t think it’s smelly at all. You could actually take two tubs, drill holes into one, and then set it in the other one. That way you wouldn’t have to smell it!

    [Reply]

  6. Frugal Babe says:

    We’ve been composting for years, and it’s become second nature. There’s a big container on our counter top that gets dumped out in the compost bin every couple days. Between composting, recycling, and thrift store donations, we’re able to make do with the smallest size garbage can that our trash company offers, and we rarely fill it.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    FB- We have a stock pot under our sink we use for compost. It’s gratifying when you can use your compost in the spring for the garden. Our garden is nowhere near the size of yours, though! (and we’ve been slacking this year…)

    [Reply]

  7. Mr. Money says:

    Don’t let her fool you! She usually just dumps the vacuum cleaner contents in the back yard. The other day I thought we had a dead skunk in the yard. But no, it was Mrs. Money’s vacuum contents. And I wanted to clarify on the animal poop. Don’t compost dog poop, or poop from an animal that has a meat diet! Especially if it is going in your vegetable garden! Only poop from animals with a vegan diet can be composted (rabbit droppings, horse poop etc…).

    [Reply]

  8. Christina says:

    What about bread/pasta? Seems logical that it could be composted, but I’m not sure.

    [Reply]

  9. Christina says:

    Another question… how about body fluids? You mention condoms, and I would assume people aren’t just buying condoms to throw them in their compost. I just bought disposable breast pads that say they are compostable, but with milk on them? I guess if it’s good enough to go in your mouth, it’s good enough to go in your compost? Sorry for the totally gross question.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Christina- LOL I would say they are compostable. If the box says they are, I would throw the used ones into the compost pile. I would say the amount on them won’t make a huge difference. Breast milk doesn’t gross me out one bit. ;) I am proud of you for nursing!

    xoxo

    [Reply]

    Kristin Reply:

    How about actual breast millk? I am sure the small amount is no problem, but I am now mixing breast milk with the babies first foods and calling it veggie pudding. Is the veggie pudding okay? And what about a bottle of breast milk that doesn’t get used?? Can the whole bottle go in??
    THanks for the info.

    [Reply]


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