10 Items You Should Never Add To Your Compost Pile

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compost pile

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Rather than transferring the biodegradable kitchen and household waste to the landfill, building a compost pile is a practical solution to the waste problem. Compost can inhibit some plant diseases and pests, remove the need for chemical fertilizers, and increase the water efficiency of your plantings. However, some things should never go into your compost bin or pile.

Food Waste

compost pile don'ts

Beyond attracting insects and rodents, these materials present other problems in composting.

1. Rice

Raw rice can produce bacteria that is dangerous. So you would never want to include it in a compost pile, if you are looking for certain nutrients that rice contains, just cook the rice beforehand.

It can also create a matted layer in your compost pile. If you add too much rice to your compost pile, it may create a matted layer that prevents air and moisture from circulating. This slows down the composting process and creates an anaerobic environment leading to the growth of harmful bacteria.

2. Used cooking oil, grease and fat

These materials don’t readily degrade and can also coat other materials inhibiting breakdown.

3. Meat and bones

These materials as you can assume do not degrade well or quickly. Bones will take far far longer than you are willing to wait and the meat will just attract insects and rodents.

4. Dairy products

You should not add dairy products to a compost pile because they can:

  • Attract pests and diseases. Dairy products are high in protein and fat, which makes them a feast for pests like rats, flies, and maggots. They can also attract diseases, such as salmonella and E. coli.
  • Create unpleasant odors. As dairy products decompose, they release gases that can produce a foul smell. This odor can be off-putting to neighbors and attract pests.
  • Slow down the composting process. Dairy products are high in moisture and fat, which can make it difficult for the microorganisms in compost to break them down. This can slow down the composting process and make it more difficult to create finished compost.

5. Walnut shells

Contains juglone that is deadly to plants. It is one of those natural items that are just not a good idea for the health of future plants to plan on having.

Other Materials

composting do's and don'ts

6. Paper

Some types of paper, such as newspapers and brown bags, can enhance your compost pile, particularly if you are using worms. Other kinds of paper like magazines, catalogs, and printed cards are simply not degradable and often are made with toxic materials.

7. Wood

Most commercial-grade lumber is chemically treated, and thus the sawdust or ashes should never go into the compost pile. The experts from Ware Disposal Co., Inc. say that wood ash is highly alkaline and when moist produces lye, neither of which is good for your compost pile.

8. Human and Animal Waste

Human and carnivorous animal waste should never go in the compost pile because of the risk of disease. Also, cats and dogs have organisms in their digestive tracts that are detrimental to the composting process and to plants. However, the bedding and waste from herbivorous animals such as hamsters is fine and actually can work to aerate the compost pile.

9. Plant Materials

Invasive plants such as dandelions or ivy will simply use your compost pile as a prime growing spot, so they should go in the garbage. Diseased plants should also go in the trash to avoid transferring problems to your healthy plants.

10. Inorganic Materials

Materials such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, plastics, cleaning solutions, and medical waste are deadly to your compost pile because they kill the natural organic processes. They may also transfer toxins into your garden, and to you when you eat produce you have grown.

Composting is an easy, practical way to build ecological sustainability into your life. The benefits of compost include lowering your water bill, lessening the amount of waste you send to the landfill, and improving your lawn and garden soils.

  • Greener Ideal Staff

    Greener Ideal helps you live your life in more sustainable ways with green living tips and commentary on the latest environment news. We want to protect the planet and reduce our collective carbon footprint.

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