What Can You Add to the Compost Pile

Many people are using a compost pile these days. The biggest question most people have when they start to compost is “What can I add to my compost pile?” This list shows many items that can be safely composted in your compost bin or pile. Not everything on these lists is for everybody, so use it as a reference. Some items may bring insects to your pile, like rice and other food items, so choose these only if pests are not a problem.


Please take note that while meat, dairy, and fats can be composted there must be special care in order to compost these items safely.



compost pile

What Can You Add to the Compost Pile



Pet Items for the Compost Pile

Many items that come from the maintenance of your pets can be added to the compost bin including the following:

  • Dry dog, cat or fish food
  • Alfalfa hay from rabbits
  • Any fur from brushing your dog
  • Manure from horses, cows, or goats
  • Bee droppings
  • Birdcage cleanings
  • Aquarium plants
  • Fish Scraps
  • Feathers
  • Horse Hair



Laundry Room Items 

Don’t throw away those mismatched socks and lint. They can be part of compost as well as these items;

  • Dryer Lint
  • Old mismatched socks, shredded
  • Cotton clothing, shredded
  • Denim, shredded
  • Old towels, shredded



Kitchen Items 

Your kitchen is your greatest source for finding items to add to the compost bin. Check out all of the items that can be added here;

  • Paper napkins and paper towels
  • Freezer burned veggies
  • Scraps from fruits and vegetables
  • Tea Bags
  • Coffee filters and grounds
  • Cooked Pasta and Rice
  • Shredded brown bags
  • Stale bread, chips, and crackers
  • Stale cereal
  • Shredded cardboard food boxes
  • Oatmeal
  • Nutshells except for Walnuts
  • Chopped up wine corks
  • Toothpicks and bamboo skewers
  • Popcorn
  • Old Spices
  • Stale beer
  • Old wine
  • Eggshells
  • Corn cobs (takes a long time)
  • Outdated yogurt
  • Onion skins
  • Seeds if chopped up
  • Leftover salad
  • Burnt toast
  • Grocery receipts
  • Pizza Crusts
  • Muffin or cupcake paper wrappers



Office Items 

Even items from your office can be added. Here are some ideas to get you started;

  • Shredded bills and papers
  • Pencil Shavings
  • Sticky Notes
  • Matte business cards
  • Envelopes without the windows



Household Items 

Sometimes the things you never thought of would be great for the compost bin, these items from the home include the following;

  • Dust bunnies
  • Newspapers
  • Vacuum cleaner contents
  • Used potpourri
  • Houseplant Leaves
  • Dried out floral arrangements
  • Ashes from the fireplace
  • Shredded cardboard toilet paper tubes
  • Kleenex
  • Old sheets, shredded
  • Old leather gloves
  • Elmer’s Glue
  • Electric razor trimmings
  • Haircut remnants
  • Leather wallets
  • Leather watch bands
  • Ivory soap scraps
  • Used matches
  • Greeting Cards
  • Cotton balls
  • Tampons and pads
  • Condoms
  • Cardboard tampon applicators
  • Fingernail and toenail clippings



Miscellaneous Items for the Compost Bin

Most of the items in this list originate outdoors and in the garden. Be creative and pay attention to what you used to throw away;

  • Wood Chippings
  • Grass clipping
  • Hay
  • Pine Needles
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Garden Waste
  • Garden Soil
  • Blood Meal
  • Limestone
  • Fish meal
  • Spanish Moss
  • Flower Petals
  • Weeds
  • Cattail Reeds
  • Bat Guano
  • Lobster and crab shells
  • Moss from hanging baskets
  • Urine
  • Seaweed
  • Holiday greenery
  • Pine combs
  • Raffia
  • Chopped up sticks and branches
  • Chicken bedding



Final Thoughts on What To Add To The Compost Pile…


Composting provides many benefits to the homestead gardens. Knowing what can be safely added to the compost pile can provide you with wonderful compost for your gardens. For more detailed information on composting, including how to get started, see my post-Composting: What You Need to Know About it.


For an excellent and honest look at what all can really be added to a compost bin read Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting by David the Good, available on Amazon.

From soup to nuts there are endless items that can be added to the compost pile.


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