compost bin with food spilling out of it

20 surprising items you can compost

Think that composting is just for food stuffs? Think again! Many, many items of household waste can add extra nutrients to your compost heap – not just the obvious, such as vegetable peels and coffee grounds.

Cut the amount of rubbish you put out and create some extra special food for your garden plants by chucking a liberal amount of these into your compost…

Get inspiration for your compost

1. Stale wine and beer – great for after a party! Wine is actually used by many old school gardeners as an ‘activator’ for compost, kicking off the bacterial processes needed to break down the waste.

2. Hair from your family and your pets

3. Balsa wood boxes – such as the ones commonly sold with Camembert cheeses.

4. Used masking tape

5. Stale fish food

6. Hide or bone based dog chews – just make sure your dog’s finished with it first, otherwise you’ll have an unhappy hound.

7. Old rope – so long as it’s natural and not plastic-based

8. Really worn out leather items – chop these up into small strips with scissors to cut the time it takes them to break down.

9. Condoms – did you know that both latex and sheepskin condoms compost?  

10. Wool or cotton clothing – finally a good use for that exhausted old jumper! Use old cotton clothing as dusters and cleaning cloths first; when they get too mangy, wash them through and bung them on the compost.

11. Cotton tampons and cardboard applicators

12. Seaweed – tried and tested ‘activator’. Useful as it gives the decomposition process a boost.

13. Feathers – another brilliant way to get your compost heap working overtime.

14. Vacuum dust – woollen carpets only, not synthetic as these fibres will not compost.

15. Muddy scrapings from your hiking boots

16. Lint from the tumbledryer filter

17. Fingernail and toenail clippings – provided they’re nail varnish free.

18. Ashes from the BBQ – worms go crazy for these. Make sure they’re cool first, unless you want a flaming compost heap!

19. Used tissues – collect them when you have a cold. The screwed up paper helps create space and aerate the heap. 

20. Animal manure from vegetarian pets – best mixed with straw.

What will you put on the heap?

Composting is not just about gardening – it helps the environment too. Keeping waste out of the dustbin saves all of the cost and energy associated with the collection of the material. It also helps to minimise the emission of methane gas (a potent greenhouse gas), common when organic waste is buried in landfill.

Digging the compost back into the garden completes the cycle and actually helps to offset your carbon emissions. Let’s put this valuable resource to use, help your garden and the environment and get composting!

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Share :


If you’re not already a member, then you’re missing out! All of our members get rewarded for living a greener lifestyle, including reading this blog.