30 Unexpected and Unusual Things You Can Still Put in the Compost


Composting isn’t just for food, silly! You’ll be surprised at all the strange, random junk you can toss in the compost bucket. Don’t draw the line at peach pits and coffee grounds – start chucking the following items into that bucket and watch your garbage bill go down while you create top-drawer dirt (and help the planet, of course).

1. Bills – because somehow it’s a lot more satisfying shoving bills in with melon rinds and egg shells than the recycle bin. Trust me.

2. Latex condoms – both latex and sheepskin condoms are biodegradable; note that sheepskin does not protect against STDs.

3. Junk mail – if you’re like me not even the Do Not Mail list has managed to alleviate the jubilant deforestation companies are undertaking on your personal behalf.

4. Catalogs and magazines – just shred them first.

5. Old fish food and stale catnip

6. Abandoned hide/bone dog chews

7. Worn out rope and used masking tape

8. Any old leather – shoes, gloves, wallets, belts, “sexy” Halloween cat costume from college. Note: the leather should be fairly worn out, otherwise you’ll be dead before it degrades. Composting does not guarantee that your friends will stop calling you Cat Woman, however.

9. White glue – yes, you can!

10. ATM and gas station receipts

11. Ticket stubs, post-its, stickers, labels, price tags

12. Ratty wool or 100% cotton socks

13. Old Halloween candy – when the chocolate tastes like Jelly Bellies, it’s time to part ways. Good times.

14. Holey cotton underwear – come on!

15. Dirt, crap and grime from your shoes or boots

16. Cardboard cereal boxes – shred them up first

17. Vacuum cleaner bag/bin contents and dryer lint

18. Skunked beer, ancient candy bars, expired protein bars

19. Cotton tampons and cardboard applicators – really!

20. Expired dairy and moldy cheese – but hold the meat.

21. Used tissues and paper towels

22. Aquarium plants and wilted flower bouquets

23. Cat fur, dog hair, and nail clippings

24. Your hair – you could even bring the clippings home from your hair dresser. If you want.

25. Matches

26. Wood chips from the BBQ

27. Fireplace and campfire ashes

28. That cute little brie cheese box

29. Cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls

30. Hamster/guinea pig/rat/bird cage cleanings

It may seem like weird science, but all of the above objects are fully compostable.

You can compost anything of organic origin: fruit peels and pits, sandwich crusts, gluey pasta, oatmeal that’s gone the way of cement, soggy cereal, stale pastries, nut shells, orange rinds, tea bags, coffee filters, onion skins, melon rinds, seeds, cores, old milk, stale potato chips…

Wait…you compost, right? Composting is free, easy, and one of the best things you can do for the environment, next to cutting down on fossil fuel consumption and minding your three R’s – reducing, reusing, recycling. Call me juvenile, but I also feel like I’m somehow getting away with something. Burying bills in the dirt? Great!

Even if you aren’t a gardener, your green thumb neighbors will be glad to reap the benefits of all your bizarre biodegrading – and you’ll cut down on your garbage pickup fees.

Sources: Cheap Like Me, Gorgeously Green by Sophie Uliano

Image: johndan, theseanster93, pawpaw67, laszlo-photo

Further reading:

Getting Killed at the Pump? How to Green Your SUV

7 Signs of a Green Restaurant

I Toss 1/3 of My Groceries in the Trash – Here’s How I’m Stopping