General Question

Anatelostaxus's avatar

What should I NOT put in my compost bin?

Asked by Anatelostaxus (1418 points ) June 18th, 2011

for instance, are ashes harmful to the production of earthworms and bacteria (from firewood and/ or cigarettes but without the butts)?
More specifically, I’d like to know why not to include that which is not suggestible.

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13 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

No meat products or by-products (bones, skin, fat), ditto for chicken and fish. Fireplace ashes are wonderful for flower beds. I would bag and toss the cigarette butts in the trash.

Egg shells, coffee grounds, loose tea, tea bags without the staples,veggie scraps, shredded newspaper (only black and white) are the obvious good guys.

You do not want to tempt the raccoons; and cigarette stubs are just plain nasty.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, what @gailcalled says.

No cigarette butts, yuck!

Only use natural, raw organic materials, no leftover foods.
You can use grass clippings and leaves as well.

creative1's avatar

My mother puts everything in that is natual in her compost pile but she has a natural pile and not a bin to put it in. She has it hidden behind a fence and whenever there is leftovers she put it in, meat products and all, but she also has 2 piles so one can compost a full year before using the soil from it and one that she will pile this years items in. Actually Native American Indians used to catch fish and bury them whole into the garden to add the nutrients back into the soil as the plants were taking it out, its a natural form of fertilizer. She also buys all natural no dyes types of papertowels and napkins and will put them in the compost pile as well because if you think about paper its a natural product if you don’t add any of the dyes and that to it.

I would never put any cigarette items into it just because if you look on the street they they don’t break down easily.

Coloma's avatar

I thought about putting my ex husband in the compost pile once, but, I’d have had to kill him first. Too messy, so I let him go, to fulfill his destiny as a mobile rotten vegetable. lololol

incendiary_dan's avatar

You can put in meat and bones if you burn them first. But those are usually better just crushed and thrown right onto the soil.

And that fish thing isn’t supported as a traditional American Indian practice, but was probably something Squanto picked up in Europe while he was enslaved there. There are a few areas in Northern Europe where it’s traditional to dredge up seaweed and sometimes a few fish to add organic material to poor soil.

Bellatrix's avatar

@gailcalled pretty much summed it up. I would say don’t put weeds in the compost heap either. The heat may not reach the required temperature to kill off any seeds and when you spread the compost, you could spread weeds. Put weeds in your garbage bin. With meat products, the reason I have seen is because it attracts rats, flies and other undesirables to your compost heap.

If you see bags of horse manure (or similar) for sale, throw that in as well. If you prune your garden plants, and can hire (or buy) a mulcher, put the mulched up stuff in your compost too.

faye's avatar

I put in anything cooked or raw as long as there’s no meat products involved. I’ve heard different stories about bread. I’ve always thrown it in. Anybody know why not?

Bellatrix's avatar

I put bread in ours. Don’t know why you wouldn’t?

Anatelostaxus's avatar

Everybody.. very helpful.. thanking a few particularly.
What if I put fruit seeds in? (or shall I say, just let them be in there just having been too lazy to pick them out.)?

Bellatrix's avatar

They could germinate in the compost bin. We had a tomato plant grown in there once (more successfully than the ones we planted deliberately!) Really though, it shouldn’t matter. If something grows, you can pull out the plants or maybe you will end up with pumpkins in the compost!

gailcalled's avatar

I have several tomato plants growing in my compost pile, but the leaves have been turned into lace by bugs. Too bad.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

@gailcalled Ditto with pumpkins in my compost!

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