17 Surprising Things You Can Compost

Think compost is just for apple cores and vegetable peelings? Think again. As more and more people start to compost at home, and more cities provide composting as an option for waste disposal, it’s good to know what you can and can’t compost. You might actually be surprised to learn what you can compost, and in the process, keep a few items from making their way into the trash bin.

If you live in a city that provides composting services, always be sure to check what they do and don’t accept. You also want to be sure that what you’re putting in your compost is free from plastic and toxic chemicals.

There is a lot that can go into a compost bin, but here are 17 things you may not have thought of.

1. Sawdust

As long as the sawdust is free from chemicals, dry material is actually good for your compost. Try to keep a 4:1 ratio of brown (dry) to green (food scraps, etc.) material.

2. Coffee filters

Coffee filters can be composted, making your morning pour-over a pretty sustainable drink.

3. Egg cartons

Hopefully you’re reusing your egg cartons, but even the most diligent upcycler can get stuck with a few too many, in which case the compost is a good depository.

4. Wine corks

You can compost wine corks that are made from real cork; the synthetic ones won’t do.

5. Kombucha SCOBY

If your kombucha is growing rampant and you don’t have enough friends to pass the overflow to, pop the excess kombucha mother in the compost.

6. Dead flowers

Have a bouquet of flowers that isn’t so fresh anymore? Compost away.

7. Hair

It might sounds gross, but that hair that has collected in your hairbrush can be removed and placed in the compost bin. Or even your hair from a haircut.

8. Dryer lint

Since dryer lint consists of tiny fibers from your clothes, these can be composted as dry material; unless your washing is 100% polyester, of course.

9. Shredded paper

Looking for a use for all your junk mail? Shred and compost away.

10. Paper napkins

Paper napkins most often make their way into the trash can; put them in the compost instead.

11. Newspaper

That stack that has been collecting over the last month? It’s destined for the compost bin.

12. Wine

Had a bottle that sat open for too long? If it doesn’t taste good anymore, you don’t have to pour the wine down the sink, you can add it to your compost instead.

13. Toothpicks

While easy to toss in the trash can, you don’t have to.

14. Natural sponges

Sponges from the sea are biodegradable, so once the sponge has run its course, make sure to compost it.

15. Cat and dog hair

If you have an animal, chances are you have some fur that has accumulated in corners. Pop it in the compost to get rid of it.

16. Olive pits

Eat the olive, compost the pit.

17. Business cards

As long as they are made of paper, and not the glossy kind, all those business cards that you got at that conference that you won’t ever actually use can go directly into the compost.


Photo Credit: Kirsty Hall


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

Jerome S
Jerome S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson3 years ago

Sarah H. Good tip. Give her green stars.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

thanks, I also empty the vacuum canister into the compost

Luna starr
luna starr3 years ago

learned a few more

Rosa Caldwell
Rosa C3 years ago

This certainly is the way to go when you are trying to help Mother Earth and Global Warming.