20 Goofy Ingredients You Can Actually Compost

 20 Items that can be compostedGreen Prophet loves composting, the DIY alchemy of diverting waste from landfills and converting it to nutrient-rich soil. But what if your kitchen doesn’t generate enough scraps to feed the process? Turns out there are loads of non-food ingredients to add to the mix.

A new school year starts this week and, in the annual house-scan for fresh notebooks and pens, I unearth more mysterious clutter, stuff that grows like Chia Pets in underused drawers and cupboards.  You probably have the same problem: business cards from ages-ago jobs, dusty bottles of antique spices, a stack of Teletubbies paper plates (that little birthday girl is now pushing 16).

My greenest friend observed the clean-out and told me to chuck it all in the compost heap. A few minutes spent Googling, and it seems her tip is legit. These odd items might make your garden thrive:

  1. Old paper business cards
  2. Outdated herbs and spices
  3. Bamboo skewers
  4. Dryer lint
  5. The contents of your vacuum cleaner bag
  6. Wine corks
  7. Paper egg cartons
  8. Toothpicks
  9. Pet hair
  10. Human hair
  11. Matches
  12. Pencil shavings
  13. Paper napkins
  14. Crepe paper streamers
  15. Old potpourri
  16. Latex condoms
  17. Nail clippings
  18. Feathers
  19. Dog food
  20. Cardboard rolls from toilet paper and paper towels

Author disclosure: I mostly trust my friends, and my friends are mostly comedians. Have you dropped these ingredients in your own fertilizer factories with good results, or am I about to become another cautionary tale?

Image of women farmers from Shutterstock

About Laurie Balbo

At university, she was annoyed that her architecture degree was called a Bachelor of Environmental Design. As a working architect, she was annoyed that projects weren’t designed with more environmental consideration. She’s a usually-annoyed architect and sustainability specialist who hopes that venting her frustrations will make a positive environmental difference. Her husband just hopes it makes her less annoyed. Born in the United States, Laurie has managed design and managed construction of ports and airports in New York, Dublin and now Amman. She blogs on knitting and other arcane topics at www.fibermeister.com Laurie can be reached at [email protected]

2 thoughts on “20 Goofy Ingredients You Can Actually Compost

  1. Michael Lehner

    All that makes sense, so I think you are on the right track. The formula must still include green stuff and these ingredients might have to be mixed in somewhat judiciously. If you are in an area with an active recycling program, some of this stuff would still be better for the environment to put into the recycling container.

    • Laurie Balbo Post author

      Thanks Michael – I decided to go slow on these “new” ingredients until I read more on the chemical balance needed for optimal composting in this arid climate. If it works, it’ll have a double benefit – as municipal recycling is near-nonexistent here in Jordan.


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