Tuesday, August 18, 2009

75 Things You Can Compost

From Planet Green comes a great list of 75 Things You Can Compost. I've composted quite a few things on this list, though never a used condom. I'm not very squeamish, but that pushes the limits a bit. Here are the things regularly composted at our house. My list isn't as comprehensive as the one on Planet Green, in part because we recycle our clean paper waste and in part because most of our food scraps go to our chickens. We compost their manure, though, so the food scraps eventually make it to the compost pile.

  • yard waste, grass clippings, etc. - a/k/a the usual
  • vegetable food scraps that don't go to the chickens
  • napkins
  • tissue paper
  • newspaper used to wash windows (the extra ammonia is a good source of nitrogen, right?)
  • used paper plates
  • egg shells
  • dead houseplants and their soil
  • shredded paper (we shred anything an identity thief might find useful)
  • jack o'lanterns
  • nut shells, coconut hulls, etc.
  • the disgusting sludge I clean out of the sink strainer (ewwwww)
  • pencil shavings
  • dryer lint - but be sure to bury it in the pile. The first time I composted dryer lint, I felt very virtuous. About 2 days later we had a big windstorm, and I found dryer lint all over my front yard. Ugh.
  • cedar shavings from the bottom of the corn snake's tank. I'm not sure it's really proper to compost them, because reptile poop contains salmonella, but I figure a) people compost chicken manure, which often contains salmonella, b) the snake smell might deter the giant rats (think ROUS's from The Princess Bride) that often seek food and shelter in our compost bins, and c) we don't eat our compost.

After one of my Facebook friends commented that her husband bleeds on the compost pile when he cuts his finger (blood is a good source of nitrogen, right?), I thought maybe I should have composted my husband's bloody bandages from his last surgery. But I'm pretty sure that falls into the same category as the used condoms: compostable, yes, but it pushes the limits a bit.


Kim and Victoria said...

Great list! We'll have to add the napkins and tissues. What about paper towels?

Barbara said...

If you need more green material, old seeds are a good thing to toss on the bin. The seeds sprout and you have green stuff to mix in when it's time to turn.

Janet said...

@Kim and Victoria - yes, paper towels work too, as does *clean* (can't emphasize that point too much) toilet paper. So the next time someone TPs your place, think of it as free compost material.

@Barbara - yes, I compost my old seeds too. And I always seem to get a pumpkin vine growing in my compost bin, because I compost some of the seeds from our carving pumpkins (we're Halloween freaks, so we always have more seeds than we'd ever want to roast).

Barbara said...

Hi, I enjoyed your composting post. If you want to really get fanatic about it, take a look at Joseph Jenkins' "Humanure Handbook", easy to find on the web. He takes it to the ultimate!

Melina Moraga said...

I almost went to Facebook and asked you to write a post about composting, but then I found your old posts.

I'm a beginner, and I want to start, but I'm afraid I'll end up with a pile of stinky goo.

I'll keep reading your other com-POSTS, and get back to you with more questions later. :)