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What Should Not Be Put in Your Compost

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Compost can be defined as the organic matter that is the result of the decomposition of everyday waste. Compost is used as a fertilizer and it is the main ingredient to organic farming. It is nutrient-rich and also acts as a natural pesticide.

However, the process of making compost should be done carefully. Compost can introduce harmful bacteria or cause toxins to enter the ecosystem if the composting material includes such substances. It is necessary to know about the things that cannot be composted.

Some of these are:

Cat and Dog Poop

The poop from the most common pets, cats and dogs, should not be put in the compost bin.

These can be composted separately but they can contain parasites and microorganisms that should not be mixed with the regular compost and used as a fertilizer.

Coffee and Tea Bags

Coffee and tea waste are a good addition to the compost. But the bags are not.

The tea and coffee bags should be removed before they are used for composting.

Citrus, Onion, and Garlic Scraps

Too much citrus, onion, and garlic waste can kill the worms that are important for decomposition.

Fish and Meat

The fish and meat remains are good for composting. But one should remember that the smell from the rotten fish and meat remain can attract unwanted rodents.

Glossy Paper and Coated Paper

Paper is a good substance for making compost. But it should be plain paper. Paper that is glossy would have been coated with shiny plastic and should not be used.

Old paper towels, shredded cardboard, and tissues are good for composting.

Sticky Labels

While composting, one should be careful to remove the sticky labels from the fruits and vegetables and also from the papers before throwing them into the composting bin.

Sticky labels are one of the most common problems faced by composting factories.  

Large Branches

Branches should be chopped up and put in the composting bin or they should have a separate composting bin.

Diseased Plants

These plants will decompose but will also transfer their bacterial problems wherever the compost is used. Diseased plants should be thrown in the trash.


Sawdust from natural wood is a good addition to the compost bin. But sawdust from treated wood should never be added as they contain the toxins resulting from the treatment process.


Composting is done in almost every home these days for their own small garden. Or it is collectively made for bigger settlements. Composting should be done carefully. The steps to be followed for composting are

  • Wet organic waste is collected. Leaves and food waste can be shredded to make the process faster.
  • After a few weeks or months, the organic waste breaks down into humus which can be used as a fertilizer.
  • Worms and fungi break down or decompose the waste to form the rich fertilizer.
  • Water should be added as necessary and proper aeration is required.

People around the world now want to reduce their carbon footprint. What better way than to recycle waste and give back to the earth. But one should give back just the humus and not harmful bacteria and toxins. Taking precautions and understanding what not be composted is equally important to understanding should be composted.

This article was graciously submitted to us by Ann Katelyn of