Posts Tagged ‘composting’

I am delighted when I discover something new that I can compost.  I recently discovered this list, from an article by Marion Owen (co-author of Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul):

Paper napkins
Freezer-burned vegetables
Burlap coffee bags
Pet hair
Potash rock
Post-it notes
Freezer-burned fruit
Wood chips
Bee droppings
Lint from behind refrigerator
Popcorn (unpopped, ‘Old Maids,’ too)
Freezer-burned fish
Old spices
Pine needles
Matches (paper or wood)
Seaweed and kelp
Chicken manure
Leather dust
Old, dried up and faded herbs
Bird cage cleanings
Paper towels
Brewery wastes
Grass clippings
Hoof and horn meal
Molasses residue
Potato peelings
Unpaid bills
Gin trash (wastes from cotton plants)
Rabbit manure
Hair clippings from the barber
Stale bread
Coffee grounds
Wood ashes
Tea bags and grounds
Shredded newspapers
Egg shells
Cow manure
Winter rye
Grapefruit rinds
Pea vines
Houseplant trimmings
Old pasta
Grape wastes
Garden soil
Powdered/ground phosphate rock
Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
Jell-o (gelatin)
Blood meal
Winery wastes
Spanish moss
Fish meal
Aquarium plants
Beet wastes
Sunday comics
Harbor mud
Felt waste
Wheat straw
Peat moss
Kleenex tissues
Milk (in small amounts)
Soy milk
Tree bark
Starfish (dead ones!)
Melted ice cream
Flower petals
Pumpkin seeds
Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
Expired flower arrangements
Elmer’s glue
BBQ’d fish skin
Bone meal
Citrus wastes
Stale potato chips
Rhubarb stems
Old leather gardening gloves
Tobacco wastes
Bird guano
Hog manure
Dried jellyfish
Wheat bran
Guinea pig cage cleanings
Nut shells
Cattail reeds
Granite dust
Moldy cheese
Shredded cardboard
Dolomite lime
Cover crops
Quail eggs (OK, I needed a ‘Q’ word)
Rapeseed meal
Bat guano
Fish scraps
Tea bags (black and herbal)
Apple cores
Electric razor trimmings
Kitchen wastes
Outdated yogurt
Toenail clippings
Shrimp shells
Crab shells
Lobster shells
Pie crust
Leather wallets
Onion skins
Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
Watermelon rinds
Date pits
Goat manure
Olive pits
Peanut shells
Burned oatmeal (sorry, Mom)
Lint from clothes dryer
Bread crusts
Cooked rice
River mud
Tofu (it’s only soybeans, man!)
Wine gone bad (what a waste!)
Banana peels
Fingernail and toenail clippings
Chocolate cookies
Wooden toothpicks
Moss from last year’s hanging baskets
Stale breakfast cereal
‘Dust bunnies’ from under the bed
Pencil shavings
Wool socks
Artichoke leaves
Leather watch bands
Fruit salad
Tossed salad (now THERE’s tossing it!)
Brown paper bags
Soggy Cheerios
Theater tickets
Lees from making wine
Burned toast
Animal fur
Horse manure
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Coconut hull fiber
Old or outdated seeds
Macaroni and cheese
Liquid from canned vegetables
Liquid from canned fruit
Old beer
Wedding bouquets
Greeting card envelopes
Dead bees and flies
Horse hair
Peanut butter sandwiches
Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
Fish bones
Ivory soap scraps
Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
Produce trimmings from grocery store
Cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
Grocery receipts


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What is compost & recycling procrastination?  Well, it’s what I call it when you’re rushing around chasing kids, doing laundry and trying to prepare a meal (all at once, of course) and you recognize items that could go into your compost or recycle bin but you just don’t feel like running outside 20 times a day or just plain can’t, so you tell yourself you’ll do it next time and these valuable compostables and recyclables end up in your trash.

Things like coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels and eggshells are some examples of things you might toss into the trash on a daily basis.  I have found that if I have a single container (a plastic tupperware container, a glass bowl, etc) on the counter and toss things into it all day long to be taken out to the compost bin at the end of the day, I am much more likely to do it.  It also makes you feel good as the day progresses and you see your container filling up!  Well, either that or it will gross you out.   In that case, put a lid on it.  🙂

Started out with a few shavings of lettuce and carrot...

Later added coffee grounds and chopped banana peel. It adds up!

The same principle works for recycling.  I am not one of those lucky folks who has built-in recycling bins in their kitchen that slide out of the wall or counter, so I have a small plastic bin in my kitchen for recyclables and as the day progresses, things get tossed in there constantly.  I am much more likely to get others in the house to toss items into the readily-accessible bin than asking them each and every time they have something recyclable, to run outside and place it in the appropriate bin.  Good night, the way kids leave doors open every critter in the house would be running the neighborhood if I asked them to do that!

The same thing can be done in the bathroom.  Ever notice empty shampoo and conditioner bottles, contact lens cleaner bottles, hairspray bottles and those little plastic packages your contact lenses come in piling up in the trash in the corner of your bathroom?  Put a recycling bin of some sort in the bathroom, too.  You’d be surprised how much gets tossed into the trash from bathrooms simply because someone doesn’t feel like taking that walk to the outside recycling bins.

Make it a teaching point.  Show your family members how much collects in the bins after just one day.  Tell them how much composting enriches the soil and helps the things in your garden grow and how much they are helping the environment by not throwing these things into the trash where they accumulate in landfills.   You’ll feel good, they’ll feel good, the earth will be a better place.  Yay you!  🙂

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Well it’s taken me long enough to get this far on the garden (I’ve been talking about it for what, weeks now?), but during the last week a lot has been accomplished back there.  We managed to get all the weeds out of the bed and our compost as well as some organic soil that I’d purchased mixed in with our soil.  Living in Florida, we pretty much have sand so we need to enrich the soil as much as we can.   I think we’re going to need to get a few more cans (we have been using a plastic garbage can for our compost) since the original garden area has expanded from what we started with last year.


Mixing compost, added garden soil and existing garden soil

Existing soil, added soil and compost after mixing

New to composting?  Here are some basics on what to include and not to include in your compost bin, from an article on ninemsn.com:

What to put in a compost bin

  • Fruit and vegetable peelings and leaves
  • tea leaves/ tea bags and coffee grounds
  • fallen leaves
  • grass clippings
  • soft prunings
  • weeds (use only young weeds; those with seed, or about to set seed, are better disposed of in the garbage bin)
  • cow and horse manures
  • ash (from open fireplaces)
  • vacuum cleaner contents (synthetic carpet will not break down)

What not to put in a compost bin
It is important that the heap is not treated simply as a dump.

  • Meat, fish, chicken, dairy products & cooking oils – these may attract vermin such as mice and other pests.
  • Non-living things such as plastics, bottle tops, food wrappers, metals etc
  • Diseased plants
  • Fruit fly infested fruit

Pet droppings: these may contain diseases that can affect humans and other pets. Although these can be treated with the Pet Poo Converter to make them safe for use in compost.

Here is the article in its entirety:


Another great source for information on composting is howtocompost.org.

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