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What Can You Put In Your Compost Bin

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Author: Hai Le

Updated on November 17, 2023 • Estimated read time: 6 minutes

We all know that composting is an eco-friendly and sustainable practice that turns organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. It's also a great way to reduce household waste and save money on fertilizers.

But what exactly can you put in your compost bin?

In this blog post, I'll give you a comprehensive guide to understanding compostable materials, and empowering you to use your compost bin effectively and contribute to a greener future.

Compostable Materials To Put Your Compost Bin

The world of compostable materials is vast and diverse, containing a wide range of organic waste. And to effectively compost, it's crucial to distinguish between two primary categories of compostable materials:

Green: Green compostable materials play a vital role in supplying necessary nutrients for efficient composting. These materials help to balance out the carbon-rich brown materials in your compost pile and provide the nutrients that your plants need to thrive.

Examples of greens compostable materials include:

  • Fruit & Vegetable Scraps: Scraps such as fruit peels, cores, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are all excellent additions to your compost bin.
  • Coffee Grounds & Tea Bags: These are a good source of nitrogen for your compost bin. They can also help to add moisture to your compost pile and break down other materials.
  • Eggshells: By adding eggshells to your compost bin, you're not only adding valuable calcium, but also help neutralize acidic soils, creating a more balanced environment for your plants to flourish.
  • Fresh Plant & Grass: Adding fresh plant and grass is a great way to contribute valuable 'green' components to your compost bin. They are high in nitrogen and will help to balance out the carbon-rich browns.

Browns: Browns compostable materials are refer to carbon-rich materials that provide structure and aeration to your compost bin. They play a vital role for the decomposition process and help to balance out the nitrogen-rich green materials.

Examples of browns compostable materials include:

  • Paper Products: Shredded newspaper, cardboard, paper towels and bags can all be composted. They are valuable source of carbon and can help add bulk to your compost pile.
  • Wood Chips & Sawdust: They are another good source of carbon and can help keep your compost pile moist. However, it is important to add them in moderation, as they can be slow to break down.
  • Dry Leaves: When adding dry leaves into your compost pile, they will provide a significant amount of carbon and help break down other materials in your compost pile.

Note: It is important to use a mix of green and brown compostable materials in order to create a healthy compost pile. And remember that some brown compost materials may require additional processing before being added to your compost pile.

Summary: With a little work, you can turn your brown and green compost waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer that will benefit your garden. A healthy compost pile requires a balanced ratio of greens and browns, ideally two to three parts browns to one part greens.

Materials To Avoid In Your Compost Bin

There are certain items that you should be avoided putting in your compost bin due to their harmful potential. These materials can attract pests, introduce harmful substances, or disrupt the composting process.

Here's a list of materials to keep out of your compost bin:

  • Meat, Fish, And Eggs: These items can attract pests, cause unpleasant odors, and introduce harmful bacteria to your compost bin.
  • Cooked Food: Unlike their raw counterparts, cooked foods can take longer to decompose and attract even more pests. It's generally advised to avoid adding cooked food to your compost bin.
  • Dairy Products: Apart from attracting pests and make your compost smell bad, adding dairy products also disrupting the harmonious balance of your compost pile.
  • Oils, Fats, And Grease: These materials contain chemicals and can introduce harmful substances into your compost pile. They can also clog your compost bin and prevent it from decomposing properly.
  • Pet Waste: Pet waste, particularly from dogs and cats, contain harmful bacteria that can make your compost unsafe to use. They can harbor a variety of harmful bacteria and parasites that pose potential health risks.
  • Plastic And Metal: Avoid any plastic packaging, utensils, or metal objects. These materials are non-biodegradable and cannot be broken down by composting bacteria.

By avoiding these materials, you can help to ensure that your compost bin is healthy and slowly turns organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.

Summary: It is important to note that not all organic materials are created equal. Some materials, such as meat, dairy products, and oily foods, can attract pests and create unpleasant smells in your compost bin. While pet waste can create a variety of harmful bacteria and parasites that make your compost unsafe to use.

Top view of composting with leftover vegetables from kitchen on blue background

Composting Tips For Nutrient-Rich Fertilizer

Composting is a great way to reduce your environmental impact and create nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. But it can be tricky to get started, so here are some helpful tips to ensure success composting:

  • Start With The Right Materials: Avoid harmful materials and incorporate a mix of green and brown compostable materials. A good compost bin should have a well-balance of green and brown materials to promote the composting process.
  • Use A Compost Bin: This tools will help contain your compost and make it easier to manage.
  • Location: To ensure the optimal performance of your compost bin, place it in a well-drained, shady area. This sheltered location will protect your compost from the scorching sun's heat, and preventing excessive drying.
  • Keep Your Compost Moist: Maintain a consistent moisture level, add water if necessary. But make sure it not too much moisture, or else it can create anaerobic conditions and foul-smelling gases.
  • Chopping And Shredding: Chop or shred larger materials to increase their surface area and accelerate decomposition. This will help them to decompose more quickly.
  • Turn Your Compost Regularly: Turning your compost every few weeks, or more often if it is compacted to helps speed up the decomposition process.
  • Patience Is Key: Composting is a natural process that can take several months to complete. So be patient and keep turning your compost, and you will eventually have nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden.
  • (Optional) Add Worms To Your Compost Bin: Worms can help to speed up the decomposition process and create a finer compost.

Summary: Be sure to experiment and find what works best for you, but by following these tips, you can compost a variety of organic waste and create nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden. And remember patience is key, so don't expect your compost bin finished overnight.

Quick Takeaway

There are 2 type of compostable materials you can put in your compost bin: green and brown materials. Green materials provide essential nutrients for composting, while brown materials offer structure and aeration.

  • Examples of greens compostable materials include: Fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea Bags, Eggshells Fresh Plant and grass.
  • Examples of browns compostable materials include: Wood chips, sawdust, dry leaves, and paper products such as shredded newspaper, cardboard, paper towels and bags.

By understanding the different types of compostable materials and maintaining a balanced ratio of greens to browns, you can transform your organic waste into a valuable resource for your garden and the planet.

Frequently Asked Questions Relate To This Blog:

Question #1: What exactly is composting?

Answer: Composting is the natural process of turning organic materials into nutrient-rich humus, a dark, crumbly material that is essential for healthy soil. It helps to improve soil structure, drainage, and fertility. Composting also helps to reduce waste going to landfills.

Question #2: How long does it take for compost to decompose?

Answer: The amount of time it takes for compost to decompose depends on the type of organic material, the moisture content, the temperature, and the presence of microorganisms. Generally, faster decomposition occurs when the materials are shredded or chopped into smaller pieces, and have a balanced mix of green and brown materials.

Question #3: How do I start a compost bin?

Answer: There are two general ways to start a compost bin. You can simply purchase a pre-made compost bin, or you can build your own. The choice depends on personal preferences, and the available space you have.

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