Long List Of Things You Can Compost


The basics of composting are simple. Most people know they can compost fruit and vegetable peels, leaves, and grass clippings. But what about that tea bag you used this morning? Or the fur that collects in the brush when you groom your cat?

The following list is meant to get you thinking about your compost possibilities. Not every item on the list is for everyone, and that's fine. Imagine how much trash we could prevent from going into the landfills if each of us just decided to compost a few more things. Here are 75 ideas to get you started.

From the Kitchen

   1. Coffee grounds and filters
   2. Tea bags
   3. Used paper napkins
   4. Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
   5. Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
   6. The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
   7. Plain cooked pasta
   8. Plain cooked rice
   9. Stale bread
  10. Paper towel rolls
  11. Stale saltine crackers
  12. Stale cereal
  13. Used paper plates (as long as they don't have a waxy coating)
  14. Cellophane bags (be sure it's really Cellophane and not just clear plasticóthere's a difference.)
  15. Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
  16. Old herbs and spices
  17. Stale pretzels
  18. Pizza crusts
  19. Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  20. Wine corks
  21. Moldy cheese
  22. Melted ice cream
  23. Old jelly, jam, or preserves
  24. Stale beer and wine
  25. Paper egg cartons
  26. Toothpicks
  27. Bamboo skewers
  28. Paper cupcake or muffin cups

From the Bathroom

  29. Used facial tissues
  30. Hair from your hairbrush
  31. Toilet paper rolls
  32. Old loofahs
  33. Nail clippings
  34. Urine
  35. 100% Cotton cotton balls
  36. Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks

Personal Items

It might be a good idea to bury these items in your pile. Just sayin'.

  37. Cardboard tampon applicators
  38. Latex condoms

From the Laundry Room

  39. Dryer lint
  40. Old/stained cotton clothingórip or cut it into smaller pieces
  41. Old wool clothingórip or cut it into smaller pieces

From the Office

  42. Bills and other documents you've shredded
  43. Envelopes (minus the plastic window)
  44. Pencil shavings
  45. Sticky notes
  46. Business cards (as long as they're not glossy)
  47. Receipts

Around the House

  48. Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
  49. Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
  50. Subscription cards from magazines
  51. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
  52. Dead houseplants and their soil
  53. Flowers from floral arrangements
  54. Natural potpourri
  55. Used matches
  56. Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit

Party and Holiday Supplies

  57. Wrapping paper rolls
  58. Paper table cloths
  59. Crepe paper streamers
  60. Latex balloons
  61. Raffia
  62. Excelsior
  63. Jack o' Lanterns
  64. Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor
  65. Natural holiday wreaths
  66. Your Christmas tree. Chop it up with some pruners first (or use a wood chipper, if you have one...)
  67. Evergreen garlands


  68. Fur from the dog or cat brush
  69. Droppings and bedding from your rabbit/gerbil/hamsters, etc.
  70. Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird cage
  71. Feathers
  72. Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits)
  73. Rawhide dog chews
  74. Fish food
  75. Dry dog or cat food

I know that the longer I've had a compost pile, the more likely I've been to take a second look at something I was preparing to throw in the trash. "Hmm. Can I compost this?" is a frequent question in my house. And, as you can see, it's surprising how often you can answer "Yes!"

Page last modified on 12 August 2009 at 11:43 AM