Things You Shouldn’t Throw into the Compost Bin

Dan Soil, This Land of Ours

compost bin

Composting is critical to your soil health, and gardening. Cathy Isom has a list of some things you shouldn’t throw into the compost bin. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Things You Shouldn’t Throw into the Compost Bin

Composting is a crucial part of having an organic garden, and it’s a smart way to decrease your carbon footprint. You can technically compost almost anything that was once a living plant, but some things should be left out of the compost.

Composting requires a balance between green and brown materials. Green materials, such as grass clippings, are rich in nitrogen, and brown materials, such as dried leaves, have plenty of carbon. Aside from balanced materials, composting requires objects that can be broken down in a specific amount of time.

Whenever you go to spread the finished compost over your garden beds, you don’t want to find pieces of decomposing food or large branches still whole. On top of that, we have to worry about adding diseases or introducing pests to our compost. That’s why knowing what not to compost is vital. Without this knowledge, you could ruin your entire finished compost or, even worse, infect and kill next year’s worth of crops.


Some of the things you shouldn’t throw into the compost bin include:

  • Dog and cat poop. Some manure is safe to add to your compost but not from our favorite furry four-legged friends. The waste often contains microorganisms and parasites that can infect the crops you’ll eventually eat.
  • Citrus peels is another you shouldn’t discard in the compost pile. The chemicals in citrus peels might slow down the decomposition process.  Another problem is that citrus peels take forever to decompose.
  • Coffee grounds and tea leaves are safe for composting, but tea bags & coffee filters are a no-no. The only way that it’s safe for you to compost tea bags or coffee filters is if you are sure they’re made from natural materials, such as cotton or hemp.
  • Don’t toss bread, either. You’re just providing an invitation to racoons or other hungry critters.
  • Anything that comes from milk should not be added to your compost.
  • Rice also should stay out. It fosters a bacteria that can be harmful.
  • Keep glossy or coated paper and sticky labels out, because their often made from material that doesn’t biodegrade.
  • Any product that comes from an animal is also a no-no, and that includes any meat. The smells of the decomposing meat will only act as a magnet for rats, foxes, cats, racoons, and any other nuisance animal in the area.
  • Also avoid adding coal ash, plastic, sawdust from treated wood, walnuts, and any type of any type of cloth that may contain dye, chemicals, or other harmful substances.

I’m Cathy Isom…