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99 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Can Compost

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
An individual is composting old vegetables. There are tons of items that you may not know you can compost.

Anybody who has a composting bin or compost pile at their house knows that old apple cores, banana peels, and potato skins can be composted. The list of compostable items doesn’t stop there, in fact, it barely scratches the surface.

Did you know that you can compost an old teabag? Old spices? Grass clippings? How about sticky notes? Yes, each of those items can be composted!

There are many compostable items, and this list will get you started with the first ninety-nine. Composting at home is a very effective method to reduce the amount of waste you contribute to the landfill.

If you are composting for an organic garden, use organic starting materials. Some of the items below I would not recommend for organic gardens. For clarity, I will specify those items below.

The Basics

  1. All organic vegetable and fruit matter including rinds, skins, shells, seeds, cores, and peels
  2. Leaves
  3. Hay
  4. Used coffee grounds
  5. Paper coffee filters
  6. Grass clippings
  7. Egg shells
  8. Tea bags
  9. Peat moss
  10. Tree bark
  11. Flowers
  12. Garden soil
  13. Topsoil
  14. Stale bread
  15. Wheat bran
  16. Cooked grains
  17. Olive pits
  18. Popcorn kernels
  19. Dust bunnies
  20. Toothpicks
  21. Business cards (Paper)
  22. Natural wine corks
  23. Toilet paper rolls
  24. Wrapping paper rolls
  25. Loose-leaf tea leaves
  26. Dried brown garden weeds (avoid composting weeds that go to seed)
  27. Spices and herbs that have lost their smell
  28. Nut shells (except walnut shells, which contain a chemical that can be toxic to plants)
  29. Wood chips and sawdust — from untreated wood, treated wood is toxic
  30. Compostable cat litter
  31. Wine and beer-making wastes
  32. Dry cereals, crackers, chips, cookies, etc.
  33. 100% cotton swabs and Q-tips (do not compost plastic sticks)
  34. Wood fire ashes from grill or fireplace
  35. Dirt from soles of shoes
  36. Facial tissues (unless soiled with chemical products)
  37. Organic milk, ice cream, cream, etc. (in limited amounts)
  38. Spoiled rice, almond, or coconut milk
  39. 100% cotton clothing (ripped into small pieces)
  40. 100% wool clothing (ripped into small pieces)
  41. Raffia decorations
  42. Crepe paper streamers
  43. Paper napkins
  44. Natural wreaths, garlands, and other natural holiday decor
  45. Chopped up Christmas trees
  46. Aquarium plants
  47. Paper bags (ripped into smaller pieces)
  48. Sticky notes
  49. Any form of paper that has been soiled by food
  50. Pizza boxes (make sure to break them down into small pieces)
  51. Used paper plates without wax coatings
  52. Mail and bills (make sure not to compost envelopes with the plastic windows)
  53. Paper or wood matches
  54. Animal manure and droppings
  55. Paper towels and towel rolls
  56. Cork
  57. Organic glue
  58. Animal fur
  59. Gelatin
  60. Paper muffin and cupcake cups
  61. Cage cleanings from small pets such as Guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, and iguanas
  62. Freezer-burned fruits and veggies
  63. Burlap sack
  64. Stale candy (remove the wrapper, of course!)
  65. Cardboard and paper egg cartons
  66. Cardboard tampon applicators
  67. The boxes that surround many forms of cheeses
  68. Pure cellophane bags
  69. Paper envelopes from your mail (shredded up)
  70. Shredded catalogs and magazines (unless they have a very waxy cover)
  71. Chewing gum
  72. Feathers
  73. Rope
  74. Stale catnip
  75. Organic cotton socks
  76. Dead houseplants
  77. Halloween pumpkins
  78. Electric razor trimmings
  79. Fingernail and toenail clippings
  80. Hair (both human and animal hair is compostable)
  81. Ground bone and blood meal
  82. Rawhide dog chews
  83. Dog/cat foods
  84. Dryer lint
  85. Urine (although can be quite smelly in the summer sun)
  86. Cheeses
  87. Corn cobs
  88. Beer, wine, and liquor
  89. Crustacean shells (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.)
  90. Organic tobacco waste
  91. Bamboo products
  92. Fish food
  93. Egg shells
  94. Shower loofahs (made from natural materials, such as sea sponge)
  95. Newspaper (shredded)
  96. Granite dust
  97. Dolomite lime
  98. Liquid from canned fruits and vegetables
  99. Pure soap scraps

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


A bottle of Berberine