Composting is one of the easiest ways to go green and live a cleaner, more sustainable lifestyle. If you’re not composting yet, odds are you are generally in support of the practice (I mean, come on, who wants to make trash?) but I’m guessing you’re on the fence because you don’t feel like you toss enough compostables to make it worthwhile.
You might be surprised by how much of the stuff you throw away each day is compostable. That's why we put together this list of 46 not-so-obvious compostable items. But before we dive into it, let’s start with a quick thought experiment. Okay, imagine that today is trash day, and you just rolled your garbage cart out to the curb for pickup. Now picture yourself pushing that cart over, spilling it’s contents out into the street. You may be shocked to learn around 60% of the material strewn out in the street before you is compostable (that’s assuming you have already pulled out the recyclables and put them where they belong, of course).
Yep, over half of the average households’ non-recyclable trash is compostable, which means more than half of the stuff you lug out to the curb for the trash man every week isn’t actually trash at all! It’s “compostable.”
Surely you have seen that term thrown around alot lately. Compostable. But what does it mean, exactly?
Calling a material compostable simply means that it can be broken down into it’s basic, natural components and returned to the lifecycle as a soil amendment.
So what are some examples of stuff that is “compostable?” Well if this were an episode of Family Feud and Steve Harvey hit you with that question, odds are your go-to answer would include fruit and vegetable scraps. And DING DING, you would be absolutely right. But what many people don’t realize is that, when it comes to composting, apple cores and carrot tops are just the beginning. It turns out that pretty much anything natural or plant-based can be composted under the right conditions.
So without further adieu, here’s our list of 46 items you may be surprised to learn are compostable. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list by any means, but more of a jumping off point to get your imagination rolling on items you can compost in your own life.
Note: Because all of the materials CompostNow collects are composted in a professionally managed composting facility, we are able to accept some items that would be difficult to compost in a backyard pile, such as meat and dairy products.
1. Coffee grounds and filters
2. Tea bags
3. Egg shells
4. Fruit pits and cores
5. Freezer-burned fruits & vegetables
6. Expired milk
7. Moldy cheese
8. Melted ice cream
9. Outdated yogurt
10. Meats bones and fish
11. Used paper napkins
12. Cooked pasta or rice
13. Stale bread and cereal
14. Used paper plates (as long as they don't have a waxy coating)
15. Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
16. Expired herbs and spices
17. Natural wine corks
18. Stale beer and wine
19. Toothpicks and Bamboo skewers
20. Pizza crusts
21. Pizza boxes
22. Paper cupcake or muffin cups
23. Paper fast food packaging
24. Candies, cookies and cake
25. Seaweed and kelp
26. The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
27. Certified Compostable dishware and cutlery
From the Bathroom
28. Used facial tissues
29. Nail clippings
30. 100% Cotton cotton balls
31. Pencil shavings
32. Contents of your vacuum cleaner
33. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
34. Natural potpourri
35. Dead houseplants and their soil
36. Flowers from floral arrangements
37. Used matches
39. Soiled paper table cloths
40. Jack o' Lanterns
41. Natural holiday wreaths
42. Evergreen garlands
44. Rawhide dog chews
45. Old Fish food
46. Expired dry dog or cat food
So the next time you are about to throw something away, stop and ask yourself, “is this compostable?” Chances are good that it is. A rule of thumb we like to follow is “if grows it goes,” which basically means that if it was once a plant, it can be composted.
When you sign up as a CompostNow member, you receive a handy fridge magnet listing our most commonly accepted items in your Starter Kit. To learn more about our service and find out if it’s a good fit for you, check out our Crash Course blog post.