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Composting: The No List

Just because it's organic doesn't mean it belongs in the compost bin.

Sure, almost everything you would throw in the trash can be composted, but there are items that you should never add to compost. While an item may be decomposable, it can contribute certain factors that you do not want for usable compost.


Sure, almost everything you would throw in the trash can be composted, but there are items that you should never add to compost. While an item may be decomposable, it can contribute certain factors that you do not want for usable compost.

Here's a list of what not to add to a compost heap and why.

Weeds – Most weeds have seed heads attached and these seeds can sprout in the compost bin, creating a real mess when you want to add the compost to your garden. If you must add weeds, ensure that seed heads are removed before tossing them in.

Pet Waste – Bird, hamster and gerbil waste are okay for compost because these pets only eat grains. Cat and dogs consume protein, and this comes through in their waste. In addition, cat and dog feces can contain bacterial that is harmful to humans.

Oils – Vegetable oils come from veggies and are technically compostable, but when oil turns rancid it can stink and attract vermin. This goes for pastas and grains cooked with oil too.

Meat and Dairy – These items also give off strong odors as they decompose. Rats and flies can't resist it.

Diseased Plants – Garden plants stricken by fungal or bacterial diseases shouldn't enter the compost bin because the fungi or bacteria can survive to afflict other plants when the compost is applied.

Chemically-treated plants – Adding lawn or yard trimmings that were treated with pesticides is the opposite of the organic practice of composting. Chemicals can kill the beneficial organisms necessary to create compost.

If you're unsure if a certain item is bad for your compost bin, don't take the risk. Toss any questionable items in the trash instead.
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