8 Things That Should Not Go In Your Compost Pile At All

Composting mistakes that everyone should avoid 🌿

Composting is a great way to manage your kitchen waste if you are slowly switching to a zero-waste lifestyle. You don’t necessarily need a yard nowadays to start composting. You can just use indoor compost bins, and you’re good to go. While there are endless guides to tell you what you can compost, it is also really important to keep in mind what not to compost.

Kitchen waste that should not add to your composting bin

Earth Day - Start Composting
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So, whether you are someone who is new to composting or has already been doing it for a while, here’s a list of things from your kitchen that you should NOT add to your compost pile at all.

1. Eggs and dairy products

After eggs rot and dairy products start to ferment, they really begin to smell foul. This makes your compost pile attract more and more pests and scavengers. And so, it’s best to avoid putting these items in the home compost pile.

2. Meat, fish, and bones

Meat, fish, and bones do not belong in your compost pile as worms cannot eat them. Fish, being seafood, already has a distinct smell; as it rots, it only gets worse. Moreover, these items increase the temperature of the home composting bin. This also results in a bad smell from your compost pile that attracts pests like maggots, flies, rats, etc.

Some indoor compost bins are specially made to compost these items. But if you are thinking of adding these items to your home compost pile (be it open or closed), then let us just tell you it’s a strict no-no!

what not to add to the composting bin - meat, fish and bones
Markus Winkler / Pexels

3. Fatty foods, cooking oil, grease, and butter

Moisture plays an important role in making compost, but oil and water just don’t mix. So, be it butter or fatty food, they take an eternity to break down, which in turn also slows the composting process. It also disturbs the moisture balance of your home composting bin and ends up attracting pests.

4. Coffee pods and tea bags

While coffee pods and tea bags might seem harmless and easily compostable, they should not be on your list of compostables. The problem isn’t the tea leaves but the bag they’re packed in. Tea bags are usually made with synthetic materials and may contain plastics that only end up contaminating your compost pile with microplastics. Similarly, coffee grounds are good to go in the bin but not the pods.

As an alternative, you can opt for loose tea leaves and use a strainer; use reusable coffee pods instead of single-use ones. This will not only save you money but will also help you live plastic-free.

what not to add to composting pile - coffee pods tea bags
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5. Baked goods and cooked grains

Freshly baked goods and cooked grains like cooked rice and sugary foods are another big no-no for your compost pile. These sweet-smelling food items are known to have bad bacteria. If you still need to compost stale rice, then, it’s best to do so in moderation and bury it deep down in your composting bin.

6. Citrus fruit peels

Citrus fruits are acidic in nature and don’t bode well with the environment of your compost as these items decompose slowly. When added to the compost pile, they also slow down the composting process for the whole pile. Moreover, these also mess up the pH of your home composting bin, and they are especially bad for worms if you are using a vermicomposter.

You can use citrus in your DIY cleaning products to add freshness and speed up the cleaning process.

what not to add to composting bin - citrus peels
Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

7. Coated cardboard packaging

Milk cartons, juice boxes, cookie bags, and other food packaging items we get often come with a thin lining of waxy paper or plastic film. This makes them non-compostable as plastic does not decompose. It is also not possible to recycle these items as it is difficult to separate such plastic from packaging materials. It is best to avoid these items and switch to plastic-free alternatives instead.

8. Onion scrapes, and garlic

Just like citrus peels, onion scrapes and garlic are also not good for your compost pile. They, too, kill worms and other microorganisms that are important for the composting process. Instead, plant the onion bulbs in your garden to grow new ones.

Onion scrapes, and garlic - what not to add to composting bin
Mehmet Ali Turan / Pexels

Composting at home, when done correctly, can be a great way to start a zero-waste lifestyle. Certainly, there are many other things that should never be added to your composting bin, but we believe these items will cover most of the bases.

Happy composting 🌿

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