21 Things You Should NOT Throw in the Kitchen Compost Heap (2023)



Composting is good for the planet, good for your garden, and good for your kitchen, but that doesn't mean it always runs smoothly.

No matter how easy composting may seem at first glance, it can (and often does) go wrong, especially when you add things that don't belong in the bin.

With that in mind, here are 21 things you should NOT put in a kitchen compost pile.

Some of the top things to avoid putting in your compost pile are: meat, fish, and dairy, along with certain tea bagsPapierProducts, inorganic waste, dryer lint, animal waste and many other everyday necessities.

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A: tea bags

ATeabagIt might seem like a pretty harmless thing to add to your compost pile, and so does the tea itself, but unfortunately the bag is something you should avoid adding to an organic waste pile.

That's because many tea bags come with a finePlasticMesh that prevents tea leaves from getting anywhere in your cup.

The net won't break down properly because it's plastic, but it will spill microplastics into your compost heap.

Worms and bacteria don't benefit from adding tea bags, so avoid adding them unless you can get ones that are specifically plastic-free.

Some brands have started supplying them, but be sure before you buy them.

You should also watch out for coffee bags when using them as they can cause the same problem.

If you want you can open the bag and turn it inside outTea leaves in the compost, and then throw the outer bag in the regular trash.

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Two: meat

This may seem like a very broad category, but you should avoid composting meat.

While meat is an organic matter that breaks down over time like other compostable materials, you shouldn't add it to a home composter.

Meat is very attractive to animals and also has a strong odor that announces its presence to scavengers.

Adding meat to your compost allows you to do thisattract mice, possums, badgers, etc. They may live in other parts of the compost even after the flesh has disappeared.

Meat also smells bad when it's decomposing, which can be a problem if you have a small garden or if your compost is located near a neighbor.

It's best not to put meat in compost bins.

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Three: Greasy foods

A little oil won't cause any problems in a large established compost pile, but too much oil can upset the balance.

Oil doesn't break down as easily, and since it covers up things in the trash, it can slow down the overall breakdown process.

Remember that your compost relies on water to break down properly and adding too much oil to the mix will prevent it from breaking down.

Although small amounts of oil should run off and disappear into the ground, any large amount of oil will cause problems.

This applies to all types of oil, including butter and animal fats.

(Video) You'll NEVER Throw Away Kitchen Scraps Again After Watching This!

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Four: citrus peels

Orange skinIt might not seem like a bad thing to add to your compost bin, but it can cause major problems.

First, it takes a long time to break down because it's fibrous and tough. Second, earthworms — which contribute a lot to the composting process — don't like citrus very much.

Citrus fruits have a strong odor that keeps worms away. So if you have a lot of lemon or orange peels, don't add them to your compost.

If you must add them, try chopping them small to take the focus off a notch and encourage them to degrade quickly.

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Five: Baked

Bread and other baked goods are other seemingly harmless foods that you might want to think twice about adding to your compost heap.

Adding a little is no problem, but large amounts can cause problems.

Again, baked goods attract unwanted attention from pest species and bread molds very quickly, which can result in moldy and foul-smelling bread.compost heap.

In this case, switch it offCompound for stopping moldshould be enough to deal with, but be careful not to inhale the spores.

It's best not to add the bread in the first place if possible.

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Six: dairy

Dairy is also an attractive feed for many pest species and can add unwanted oiliness to your compost bin (depending on the type of dairy you use).

In small amounts, it probably won't cause any problems, but a large amount of dairy isn't good for your compost.

Like meat, it can attract flies and larger pests, and this can be troublesome if your compost is in a part of the yard you use a lot or near the house.

If you must add dairy to the compost, try burying it in the center of the pile to mask the smell and keep flies away.

However, dairy products (especially milk) are good for compost because they contain so many nutrients.

If you are able to solve the above problems by burying the milk and only adding it in small amounts, you may find that your compost actually has benefits.

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Seven: onion

Like citrus peel, onions and onion peel can be unpopular with worms. This can cause the onions to stickcompost bin for a long time.

Adding lots of bulbs to your compost can deter worms that are engaging with othersStay, so it's not a good idea to do that.

Although onion skins don't have a strong smell, they are fibrous and take a long time to decompose.

Another healthy oneThe compost bin should be able to process an average amount of onions and onion skins, but don't add too much or you'll find that all your compost worms are theredisappear!

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Eight: fish

Aside from being attractive to pests, fish stinks once it's spoiled, and that's a problem in a backyard dumpster.

Even if it doesn't bother you, it might bother your neighbors.

Moldy fish acts like a magnet for scavengers and should be avoided or buried deep in your body.compost heap to minimize odorproduced.

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Nine: adhesive labels

You may be wondering why you should have stickers in your kitchen, but think of produce, especially fresh fruit.

This is usually provided with an adhesive label so that individual parts can be scanned at the checkout.

It's very easy to forget that sticky label, and when you're composting a wilted apple or pear, you might not even think of the label, but it won't decompose in the compost heap.

(Video) 5 Hot Composting Mistakes to Avoid

Labels contain plastic or vinyl and are not biodegradable.

When added to a home compost heap (or even a commercial compost facility) they just get dirty and refuse to break down.

NOput them in your compostBattery.

You may find it best to remove these stickers as soon as you get home to reduce the chances of them finding their way into the stack.

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Ten: Boiled Rice

As you may know, cooked rice can develop a very nasty mold, and adding it to your compost pile isn't necessarily a good idea.

While any fungus that grows on rice will be gone once the rice is eaten, there is a risk of inhaling mold spores if you have it there in the first place, especially if you turn the compost regularly.

If you end up with mold in the compost, cover your face before handling to reduce the chance of inhaling the spores.

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Eleven: waxed cardboard

Cardboard is usually good for your compost, but waxed or coated cardboard is not. You may find some coated cardboard products in your kitchen.

Any cardboard designed to hold liquids is likely to cause problems unless it specifically says it's compostable.

This means that cardboard coffee cups are not compostable.

Coated glossy cardstock is also generally a bad idea, as is heavily colored cardstock.

Cereal boxes, for example, may not be good for your compost bin due to the coloring agents they may contain.

It's best to recycle them whenever possible rather than risk adding chemicals to your compost.

While dyes may not be harmful, there's really no way for a person to check.

Likewise, adding cardboard with glue on it is a bad idea, and the glue should be peeled off first.

Glossy paper, such as that found in magazines, should also be disposed of in the trash and not in the compost.

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Twelve: Biodegradable packaging

This may surprise you, but it really is so.important not to simply throw biodegradable packaging in the household compostwithout checking it first.

A lot of biodegradable packaging only decomposes in commercial compost bins that reach a certain temperature and remains in the home compost heap indefinitely.

That's why you should always check the label first.

As many companies begin to offer true home compostable packaging, there is a lot of misinformation and false labeling.

Look for "biodegradable" and look for "home compostable" instead.

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Thirteen: bones

You can count this as "meat," but in case you were wondering, bones shouldn't go on the compost heap either.

They may not rot or attract flies, but they do attract other pests and won't actually break.

If you want an alternate use for the bones, consider boiling them to make a broth and then throwing them in the trash.

They cannot be composted at home, although the nutrients are a valuable addition to your garden.

(Video) What can I put in my compost bin?

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Fourteen: feces

You may not have thought of adding fecal matter to your compost bin, but whether you have it or not, don't.

that applies to bothanimal and human wasteWaste (not that you're likely to have human waste in your kitchen).

Feces break down because they are organic but can carry human and carnivorous (or omnivorous) pet wastePathogens that don't belong in your compostWaste bins, especially if you use the compost for food crops.

ÖWaste from things like guinea pigs, hamsters, chickens, etc. are fine to add, but cat, dog, and human waste must be kept out of the compost, or put in a special compost that has no chance of contaminating food crops.

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Fifteen: cleaning products

You should avoid adding cleaning supplies to your compost pile or food that is heavily soiled with cleaning supplies.

This applies to products like dishwashing liquid and stronger detergents like bleach.

This will kill the beneficial bacteria in your compost that will bother worms and generally render all junk useless, at least for a while.

Do not add cleaning products to the compost.

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Sixteen: Organic Diseases

If you get certain diseases from your organic kitchen waste, don't add it to the compost.

An example of this could be rot on tomato plants.

This can stay alive throughout the composting process and infect future crops.

Vegetable scraps are fine, but you don't want to introduce dangerous diseases into the compost pile.

If you are concerned about this, especially if youcold connectiontemperatures, avoid adding plant debris that looks unhealthy or odd.

This must be disposed of in the normal garbage.

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Seventeen: dryer lint

Many people recommend throwing lint from blow dryers or vacuums in the bin, but this should be done with caution as it's a common source of microplastics.

While lint may seem harmless enough, disposing of it outside seems to be a better alternative than disposing of it in landfills.

Remember that there will be millions of tiny pieces of plastic on your clothes and objects around your home.

If you only use natural materials and only have carpets made from natural materials in your home, this type of down could be a good option.fairly safe addition to a compost heap.

There may still be some contamination, but it should be minor. However, if you have synthetic clothing or carpets, don't toss the fluff in the compost heap.

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Eighteen: pet fur

Pet dander is another "maybe" because unless you treat your pets with commercial flea treatments, it's okay to add the dander to your compost pile.

However, if you use dewormers or flea repellents, you may not want to add the fur.

Keep in mind that these treatments are designed to adhere to the coat and have a long-lasting effect, so they could negatively impact your compost bin if added.

It's safer not to throw pet hair in the trash if it contains chemicals.

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Nineteen: Inorganic Materials

This may seem pretty obvious, but inorganic materials don't belong in your compost pile.

Don't even add inert inorganic materials like glass; they do not decompose and can pose a hazard when handling compost.

(Video) Make Your Own Potting Compost

Ceramics, glass, plastic, metal and other plastics do not belong in the compost heap and belong in the kitchen or in the recycling or residual waste bin.

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Twenty: cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are not an organic material, although the tips are (often) made of cotton fibers.

The stems of many are plastic, so cotton swabs shouldn't be put in your trash can, even if they're not contaminated with chemicals.

However, you can buy cotton swabs with compostable stems, and they're a good option if you want to compost your cotton swabs.

Some are made out of bamboo while others use cardboard or paperboard.

You should still consider what a cotton swab was used for before adding it to the compost.

If it has been in contact with chemicals, dispose of it with your household waste instead of putting it in your trash can.

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Twenty-One: Cooked Food

Although this is a broad category and can therefore be used as a rule of thumb rather than a hard line, use caution when putting cooked food in your bin.

Like other "bad" foods, it is likely to attract the attention of scavengers.

Cooked foods tend to have a stronger odor than raw foods and can attract rodents and other scavengers.

If you're trying not to draw attention to your compost bin, don't put cooked food in it.

Cooked food can be added in small amounts, especially if you bury it near the bottom of the pile.

You can also check out Bokashi composting, a system of processing cooked food waste so it can be composted.

However, you should avoid adding too many cooked foods.food for your compostBattery.


Fortunately, you now have a better idea of ​​what things to keep away from a standard compost bin.

If you avoid these things, or at least keep the amounts down, your compost will be happy and healthy.

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What should you not put in a kitchen compost bin? ›

Do NOT Compost
  • Plastic or plastic-coated products (e.g., plates, cups, etc.)
  • Bioplastics.
  • Styrofoam.
  • Treated wood.
  • Grass clippings.
  • Anything treated with chemicals.
  • Styrofoam.
  • Oil.

Which item should you not put in your compost pile food scraps? ›

DON'T add meat scraps, bones, grease, whole eggs, or dairy products to the compost pile because they decompose slowly, cause odors, and can attract rodents. DON'T add pet feces or spent cat liter to the compost pile. DON'T add diseased plant material or weeds that have gone to seed.

What fruit Cannot be composted? ›


Citrus fruit, tomato products and pickled food products can do harm to your compost. High acidity can actually kill the good bacteria that helps break down the material in your compost pile.

Can you put moldy kitchen scraps in compost? ›

Answer: You can add moldy food (vegetables and fruits only) to a backyard composting bin anytime. Mold cells are just one of the many different types of microorganisms that take care of decomposition and are fine in a backyard bin.

Can I put cooked rice in compost? ›

Cooked or uncooked rice – Here is another one that most folks would probably think is just fine to add into their compost, but it is best to avoid both cooked and uncooked rice. Uncooked rice is going to attract rodents to your yard, while cooked rice can lead to the growth of unwanted bacteria.

Can you put kitchen towel in compost? ›

Kitchen roll or paper towels used to clean up general food mess are usually fine - unless they're completely saturated with something from the don't compost list.

What breaks down fastest in compost? ›

Some materials compost more easily than others. Materials such as wood and leaves are high in lignin, which is difficult to compost, especially when this material is large in size. Other materials, such as grass clippings and shredded paper, compost a lot faster.

What vegetables should not be composted? ›

Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

Some fruits and vegetables that you should compost with caution are those with high acidities, such as citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes. The acid content of these foods can kill the good bacteria in your compost pile and slow down its decomposition.

What are two mistakes that we should avoid when we prepare compost? ›

Avoid These 7 Common Composting Mistakes
  • You're Letting Your Compost Get Too Wet or Too Dry.
  • You're Composting Meat, Fish, Eggs or Dairy Products.
  • You're Not Alternating Layers of Browns and Greens.
  • You're Not Composting Enough.
  • You're Using Worms When You Don't Have To.
  • You're Not “Turning the Pile”
May 26, 2022

What vegetables should not go into compost? ›

Fruit and Vegetable Scraps

Some fruits and vegetables that you should compost with caution are those with high acidities, such as citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes. The acid content of these foods can kill the good bacteria in your compost pile and slow down its decomposition.

Can you put banana peels in compost? ›

Adding organic waste like fruit and vegetable matter is one of the best ways to improve your compost. Bananas are not only delicious but compostable. Banana peels are a suitable compost material and provide nutrient-rich additives such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium to your garden soil.

Can you put bread and pasta in a compost bin? ›

You can compost most starchy foods, including other baked goods and pasta. A rule of thumb used by many composters says that if you can eat it, you can compost it. Like bread, pasta will compost better when broken into smaller pieces, and when added in limited quantities.

Do countertop compost bins attract bugs? ›

One of the major problems with composting is the likelihood of bugs you may attract while rotten food is sitting inside the compost bin. One of the usual invasive insects is fruit flies, which are hard to get rid of.


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