80+ Items You Can Compost

By Sayward Rebhal,†Networx

Home composting isnít just for farmers anymore! The practice is becoming increasingly popular among urban environmentalists who are eager to cut their landfill contributions: from apartment dwellers growing gardens on top of†NYC roofing, to folks who participate in their local municipal compost program, to homeowners looking to turn their backyards into a†teeny tiny sustainable city farms. Composting is a key component of the eco-friendly puzzle, because it takes waste thatís destined for landfills and turns it into usable, nutrient-rich soil, which is perfect for†gardening. Most people focus on kitchen scraps, but thatís just the very tip of the composting iceberg. Did you know you could also include the following?

1.† Dryer lint

2.† ďDust bunniesĒ

3.† The insides of a vacuum bag (just empty the bag into the compost bin)

4.† The contents of your dustpan (just use discretion)

5.† Coffee grounds

6.† Coffee filters

7.† Tea bags/loose leaf tea

8.† Soy/rice/almond/etc milk

9.† Nut shells (but not walnut, which may be toxic to plants)

10.† Pumpkin/sunflower/sesame seeds (chop them to ensure they wonít grow)

11.† Avocado pits (chop them up so they wonít sprout)

12.† Pickles

13.† Stale tortilla chips/potato chips

14.† Stale crackers

15.† Crumbs (bread or other baked goods)

16.† Old breakfast cereal

17.† Bran (wheat or oat, etc)

18.† Seaweed/nori/kelp

19.† Tofu/tempeh

20.† Frozen fruits and vegetables

21.† Expired jam or jelly

22.† Egg shells

23.† Old, moldy “soy dairy” and other dairy substitutes

24.† Stale Halloween candy and old nutrition/protein bars

25.† Popcorn kernels (post-popping, the ones that didnít make it)

26.† Old†herbs and spices

27.† Cooked rice

28.† Cooked pasta

29.† Oatmeal

30.† Peanut shells

31.† Booze (beer and wine)

32.† Wine corks

33.† Egg cartons (not Styrofoam)

34.† Toothpicks

35.† Q-tips (not the plastic ones)

36.† Bamboo Skewers

37.† Matches

38.† Sawdust

39.† Pencil shavings

40.† Fireplace ash (fully extinguished and cooled)

41.† Burlap sacks

42.† Cotton or wool clothes, cut into strips

43.† Paper towels

44.† Paper napkins

45.† Paper table cloths

46.† Paper plates (non wax- or plastic-coated)

47.† Crepe paper streamers

48.† Holiday wreaths

49.† Balloons (latex only)

50.† Raffia fibers (wrapping or decoration)

51.††Excelsior (wood wool)

52.† Old potpourri

53.† Dried flowers

54.† Fresh flowers

55.† Dead houseplants (or their dropped leaves)

56.† Human hair (from a home haircut or saved from the barber shop)

57.† Toenail clippings

58.† Trimmings from an electric razor

59.† Pet hair

60.† Domestic bird and bunny droppings

61.† Feathers

62.† Fish food

63.† Aquatic plants (from aquariums)

64.† Dog food

65.† Rawhide dog chews

66.† Ratty old rope

67.† The dead flies on the windowsill

68.† Pizza boxes and cereal boxes (shredded first)

69.† Toilet paper and paper towel rolls (shredded first)

70.† Paper muffin/cupcake cups

71.† Cellophane bags (real cellophane, not regular clear plastic)

72.† Kleenex (including used)

73.† Condoms (latex only)

74.† Old loofahs (real, not synthetic)

75.† Cotton balls

76.† Tampon applicators (cardboard, not plastic) and tampons (including used)


78.††Junk mail

79.† Old business cards (not the glossy ones)

80.† Old masking tape

81.† White glue/plain paste

Happy composting, everyone. Please tell us what YOU compost!

Sayward Rebhal writes for†Networx. Get home & garden ideas†like this on Networx.

8 Ways to Compost
The Science of Compost
How Long Does Composting Take?


Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


Mike R
Mike R4 months ago


Mike R
Mike R4 months ago


Mike R
Mike R6 months ago


Lesa D
Past Member 6 months ago

that's a lot of compost!

thank you Sayward...

Elizabeth W
Elizabeth W1 years ago

I still remember the day Dad got the compost heap - along with a some lovely worms to get us started. :) It's always been where all our food scraps, eggshells, nutshells, tea and shredded newspapers go. Interesting list, though I do question some items. Still...

adrian k.
adrian k2 years ago

Nice :)

Naomi B.
Naomi B2 years ago

Great post :)

Sandra Boyd
Sandra Boyd2 years ago

I have some stored flour that has gone bad. Can this be composted?