9 Things Everyone Thinks You Can’t Compost, But You Can!
Composting organic waste is very earth-friendly. If you have been composting for a while you are aware of the items you can use as compost, as well as materials that don’t really go into the group of healthy compost heap.
For those who don’t know what you can include in your compost, here’s a list of 9 things people don’t even think can be used as composting material.
Let’s check them out:
1. Pet Waste
Animal manure from cows, goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens, llamas, hamsters, and other herbivores is rich in nitrogen and presents an amazing addition to the compost. However, using waste from dogs, cats and other carnivores is considered as bad and shouldn’t be used as compost, since these animals may carry harmful microorganisms and parasites that if used to grow food can contaminate your crops.
So, go ahead and take advantage of herbivores’ waste and add nutrition to your compost.
2. Any Part of the Walnut Tree
All members of the walnut family produce a compound called that is toxic to many sensitive plants like tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, and asparagus. Found in the bark, leaves, roots, fruit, and branches of walnut trees, even a walnut tree near your garden can cause yellowing, wilting. Black walnut trees are the most concentrated with this substance. There are many plants tolerant of juglone. So, if you live in an abundance of walnut waste, you shouldn’t dump it but use it as compost material.
3. Tea Bags
Wile tea leaves are an excellent addition to the compost, tea bags are made with polypropylene, a heat-resistant plastic mesh used to glue the sides of the bag together, and doesn’t decompose and could leach chemicals into the compost pile. So, you should drink teas that come in cotton or hemp bags, or just remove the tea leaves from the bag before adding it to the compost pile.
4. Meat & Bones
If you’ve been composting for a while, you’ve likely heard the drill about placing meat and bones in the pile: it will attract many unwanted scavengers and pests and it will make the entire heap stink. Whether raw or cooked, meat and animal carcasses decompose with the help of anaerobic organisms that reproduce in airless environments. This lack of oxygen is what causes a compost pile to reek of rotten eggs or sour milk, creating an enticing aroma for rodents, raccoons, skunks, and flies.
There are other options for disposing of meat and bones in an earth-friendly way. One is to use a trench composting system for meat scraps. Another is to use an enclosed anaerobic system.
5. Cooking Oil
Cooking oil is highly discouraged to put it in a compost pile as it coats the organic materials with a water-resistant barrier and slows down the decomposition process. So instead, you can add a little plant oils and animal fats into the bin, including sunflower oil, olive oil, suet, and lard. Before adding these cooking oils to your compost, you can try and reuse them first.
6. Dairy Products
Adding dairy products can generate a foul odor that will captivate the local fauna. While trench composting is a viable dairy disposing option, you should just ensure the compost pile is rich in “brown” carbon materials, increase airflow and aerate the heap, and always make sure the dairy products are buried deep in the pile to prevent smells and thwart critters.
7. Weeds & Diseased Plants
You can use weeds and diseased plants as compost as long as you sterilize them with heat. Weed seeds and most pathogens will be destroyed if kept at a consistent temperature of 130 F to 140 F for 3 days. If you are a cold composter, avoid chucking these organics in the garbage, seal them up in a black plastic bag and place it in a sunny spot for 1 month, then toss them into the compost.
8. Old Clothes
Natural fibers derived from plants and animals, such as wool, cotton, hemp, silk, linen, down feathers, and leather will break down in the compost, though the process will be quite slow. You can speed the process by chopping them up into smaller pieces before adding them to the pile. Before you do this, make sure they are made from natural sources – even items labeled as 100% cotton may have been manufactured with synthetic sewing thread, inks, and decals.
9. Grass Clippings
Grass clippings seem as the healthiest material to toss in your compost pile. You should collect clippings for compost, allow the grass to dry out for a couple days before adding it to the pile. Also be sure to turn the pile every few days to foster an aerobic compost environment, and add it in small amounts only.
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