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46 Things You Didn't Know Were Compostable

Posted by Dustin 5 years, 11 months ago

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.

In your kitchen

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

Around the House

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

38. Sawdust

Party and Holiday Supplies

39. Soiled paper table cloths

40. Jack o' Lanterns

41. Natural holiday wreaths

42. Evergreen garlands


43. Feathers

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.

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