Composting is a straightforward process that can help supplement fertilizer in the soil in your garden. It can also be seen as a method to give back to the earth that nourishes all life. While there are various types of items that you can add to your compost, including leaves, sawdust, grass clippings, newspapers, etc., food scraps are excellent biodegradable items to include in the mixture.
That said, there are some foods that make good additions while others can be problematic. Therefore, this article gives a complete breakdown of what food items can and can’t be composted. With this information, you can help maintain the quality of your at-home compost.
What Is Composting?
Before we begin to explain the foods that you can and cannot compost, it’s best that you understand what this process is. Composting is the natural breakdown of organic matter into fertilizer for soil. There are three integral ingredients of compost: green matter, brown matter, and water. Therefore, when you’re creating a compost pile, it’s integral to add both green and brown plants. That said, green and brown matter don’t pertain to plants only.
Green matter includes natural waste products that have some moisture in them and were recently growing. So, green matter includes fruits and vegetables as much as it does grass clippings and other green plant material. Coffee grounds are also green matter.
On the other hand, brown matter includes woody and dry items. Examples of brown matter include cardboard, branches, twigs, paper, etc. Most brown matter is actually brown in color, but that’s not always the case.
It’s important for compost to have a combination of green and brown matter. This is because brown matter provides carbon to the compost, while the green matter gives nitrogen. Both carbon and nitrogen are needed for microbes to break down organic material.
What Food Items Can and Can’t Be Composted
Now that you have a good understanding of compositing and the types of matter needed for the process, we can explain what food items can and can’t be composted.
What Food Items Can Be Composted
There are different types of food items that can be composted, which include fresh fruit and cooked items. So, take a look below for some effective composting tips.
Scraps of Produce
You can add scraps of produce items to your compost pile. Below are some items that you can include.
- Banana peels
- Apple cores
- Melon rinds
While you can certainly add orange peels and other citrus foods rinds to the mix, there’s a chance that you may upset the pH balance in the soil. As a result, the decomposition process may take longer than usual. That said, many at-home compost bins do include citrus peels. If you are using them, it’s best to cut them into tiny pieces before you add them to the compost pile. Smaller items typically decompose faster than larger ones.
It’s important to understand that you can add a variety of vegetables in different forms to your compost. So, you can add both raw and cooked vegetables. In addition to that, rotten vegetables are also acceptable for composting.
Scraps of Cooked Food
You can also add scraps of some cooked food to your compost pile. Cooked plain pasta and cooked plain rice are your safest best. Avoid heavily seasoned rice or pasta as they may not be ideal for composting.
Moreover, you can include a variety of other cooked foods, such as beans, bread, grains, soups, and sauces. That said, don’t include anything with meat in it (explained in detail below).
Other Food Scraps
You can also add eggshells and coffee grounds to the compost pile. Tea leaves can also go into the compost bin, but some tea bags may not be suitable. Moreover, you can add corn cobs.
What Food Items Can’t Be Composted
As important it is to know what food items can be composted, you should know what not to include. Here are some composting tips to keep in mind.
Scraps of Meat, Bones, and Fish
Anyone with composting experience will tell you not to include scraps of meat, bones, and fish in the bin. These items don’t decompose easily because worms cannot eat them. Moreover, they smell bad and attract rodents. Avoid it for composting at home.
While adding eggshells is acceptable, whole eggs are not good for at-home composting. The reasons are the same as with adding meat to compost.
Dairy products can start to smell really bad when they begin to decompose. Your entire garden may then have a bad lingering odor. So, don’t add dairy products, such as cheeses, milk, yogurt, cream, and so on.
Grease, Cooking Oil, and Butter
It’s best to add grease, cooking oil, and butter to your compost. This is because oil and water do not mix. Therefore, it will shift the balance of moisture in the compost, which can ruin it. In addition to that, it may also attract pests.
Other Items You Shouldn’t Add
Other than food items, there are some items that you shouldn’t add to your compost. These include the following.
- Kitty litter or pet feces
- Coated or glossy paper
- Sticky labels found on fruits
- Diseased plants
- Plants that are toxic to other plants
- Weeds that produce many seeds
Last Few Words
It’s in your benefit to know what food items can and can’t be composted. In turn, you can help your garden’s soil be richer for plant growth. At the same time, you can avoid pests and bad odors.
At TP Green, we believe that no effort to become environment-friendly is wasted. We need to play our role and move closer to a cleaner and greener environment. We offer products that aim to make the world a better place in the future. If you are looking for compostable disposables or sustainable reusables, please visit us.