Are you trying to achieve a zero waste lifestyle? One way to do this is through composting. This process uses natural waste and decomposition to speed up the plant life cycle, fertilize your organic garden, and reduce landfill fodder.
However, it is important to know what to throw in the trash can and what to leave aside. Here are 13 items you can compost – and the ones you should otherwise dispose of.
Heard you shouldn’t rake the leaves in the fall? It’s true. This manure creates habitats for all types of living things before going back into the soil and revitalizing it with nutrients.
However, you may live with a community of owners that dictates keeping your garden clean. If so, then you can add all of those leaves and clippings to your compost bin. The partially decomposed plant material will change your soil chemistrywhich makes it more conducive to plant growing in the spring.
Herbivore pet bedding
If you are trying to achieve a waste-free lifestyle, you may want to adopt a hamster as a pet. You can put the used litter from your cage in your compost bin – but only if the animal housed in it is a herbivore.
Why? Carnivores emit waste that can contaminate your soil. However, if you find dried horse droppings on a desert trail, you will find that they look like a pile of grass. Plant material breaks down in the body in a similar way, although digestion removes some nutrients.
You may not think of dryer fluff that you can recycle. It’s not a nutrient-dense powerhouse, but it can Add charcoal and fibers to your mix.
Dryer fluff will also balance out the green and brown substance in your trash can. If you’re hard on the greens due to a lot of clippings, this substance can help balance things out. It is useful to keep a bag in your laundry room to fill and add to your clippings.
Your vacuum cleaner is another great source of brown organic material to add to your compost bin. It’s much easier to do when you have a canister model instead of a bag, although you can find compostable refills if you use a version like this.
However, be careful when emptying your shop vacuum. You never want to put solid carnivorous pet waste or scrap metal in your compost bin.
Leftovers without meat
Where do you scratch your plates? If you take everything to the landfill, you may not be contributing to the landfill forage. However, they are affecting the water supply and could potentially clog your drain, causing sewage to flow back into your home. If you’ve never seen the horror of a toilet going rogue if nobody uses it, it’s better to leave it that way.
If you are vegetarian or vegan, you probably won’t have to think long about what to leave out. Are you one of those people who eat dairy products and eggs? While you don’t want to scrape a sticky omelette into the trash can, Egg shells add necessary calcium and are a welcome addition.
You may want to reserve a citrus peel or two for your convenience. They act as a natural air freshener and help remove greasy deposits in your pipes. Watermelon peel is a valuable source of green matter for your bin and adds the nitrogen it needs to your soil.
Old herbs and spices
Have you noticed that your goulash no longer zips completely like it used to? It could be that time – and taste – are up for your thyme. Herbs don’t last forever.
Fortunately, you can add them to your compost bin when they go bad. All you have to do is throw the opened container in it and recycle the glass.
Pine needles and cones
You need a balance of green and brown materials in your compost bin. The simplest ratio is 1: 1 – you should have 50% green matter and 50% brown matter. If you have pine trees on your property, you can hit this magical percentile.
Pine cones disintegrate into brown substance while the needles are green. What is the difference? Brown breaks down into substances that feed soil-dwelling organisms such as earthworms that work with microorganisms to break down the organic materials in your pile. Green is high in nitrogen and protein so that they can multiply faster.
Are you going for the long run with your compost bin? If you have an area to fertilize, you may want to add this Sunday New York Times to your pile.
Newspapers disintegrate more slowly than other organic matter – you can still find whole sheets of paper after a year. You will be luckier if you let these go through the shredder first. However, if you have a large container that you will be using year after year, this stuff is well worth adding.
Corn on the cob
Corn on the cob also takes several months to over a year to break down. Hence, you should wait until you have a well-established compost pile to add this to the mix.
However, you can just toss the discarded plungers in when you do. Make sure to cook your vegetables thoroughly before you eat them, or the uncooked seeds could sprout a plant in your trash can.
Are you thinking of doing a little strategic landscape design? If you don’t mind the smell, you might want to put your trash can near your porch.
Why? You can sit on your deck and eat peanuts and throw the pods straight into your compost bin. You can also sweep up the clutter and dump it later if you don’t like sharing your outdoor living space with flies.
Your morning cup of joe can add to the compost. You can put the bottom and many filters directly in the bin.
However, you should Opt for unbleached filters if you want to keep your mulch organic. The bleached variety introduces chemicals into your soil.
You can put tea bags in your compost bin the same way you put coffee grounds. This will help cut down on landfill fodder if you can’t find loose leaf varieties that you like.
If you prefer loose tea, you can put it straight into your compost bin. Simply empty your infuser directly into the stack.
Real wine corks
Do you enjoy a glass of vino at the end of the day? If so, you can compost the cork if it’s real.
Real wine Corks come out of the bark of a Mediterranean tree. Hence, they fall into the brown category and are safe for your bin. Test the material, however – more and more manufacturers are now choosing plastic.
Bonus: items that you should never compost
Of course, there are a few things that you should never compost. Keep the following items out of your trash can unless you want to lose your mulch.
These substances bring potentially harmful germs into your soil. You could unknowingly contaminate your products.
Leftover meat and fish
These materials can lure scavengers into your home – not to mention flies.
Weeds that are sown
If there is an invasive plant that you don’t want to sprout again in your garden, keep it out of your compost bin.
If you’re a grill master, putting your device in your trash can seems like a smart idea. However, the sulfur in the briquettes can be yours plants – dispose of them elsewhere.
Compost these 13 items
Composting can help you lead a waste-free lifestyle. Add these 13 items to your trash can today for a healthy pile of compost.
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