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CAN I COMPOST IT?

You can compost just about anything, anywhere. Consult the table below if you have any questions about whether you can (or should) compost a material. Click table headers to re-order the list by that field, and use the browser search function (on Windows, Control-F; on Mac, Command-F) to find individual items.

MaterialCan I Compost?Comment
Banana skins Yes  
Bird cage "waste" Yes  
Bone meal Yes  
Bread Yes  
Cereal Yes  
Citrus (e.g., oranges, grapefruit, lemons, tangerines) Yes Green/nitrogen - must cut in half or quarter before composting; mix with browns & add 6-inch layer of browns on top
Coffee grounds (with paper filter) Yes Green/nitrogen
Corn cobs Yes  
Cornmeal Yes  
Cottonseed meal Yes  
Crop waste Yes  
Egg shells Yes Adds calcium
Feathers Yes  
Fish scraps (buried) Yes  
Flour Yes  
Flowers Yes  
Fruits & vegetables Yes  
Fruits & vegetables, rotten Yes Green/nitrogen - may compact due to wetness; add with dry bulky brown/carbon items
Grains Yes  
Grass clippings Yes Green/nitrogen - may compact add with bulky items
Ground bones Yes  
Hair (human, animal) Yes Green/nitrogen - may be slow to degrade
Hardwood, shredded Yes  
Hay Yes  
Insects, dead Yes  
Kitchen scraps Yes  
Landscape trimmings (cut to sizes less than 2") Yes Brown/carbon - good source of bulky items
Leather Yes  
Leaves Yes Brown/carbon
Manures Yes  
Natural fibers (cotton, linen, wool) Yes  
Newspaper Yes Brown/carbon - must shred it before composting
Oatmeal Yes  
Paper/cardboard Yes  
Paperboard (e.g., cereal boxes, paper plates, and napkins) Yes Brown/carbon - break into small pieces, or make a wet slurry and turn it (mix) into the compost
Peanut shells Yes  
Pine needles Yes  
Potato peels Yes  
Potting soil/mix Yes  
Powdered milk Yes  
Rice Yes  
Rock powder (greensand, granite dust) Yes  
Sawdust (from un-treated wood) Yes Brown/carbon - very high in carbon
Seashells (crushed) Yes  
Seaweed Yes  
Seed packets Yes  
Straw Yes Brown/carbon - good source of bulky items
Tea bags Yes Green/nitrogen
Tobacco Yes  
Vacuum bag wastes Yes  
Watermelon rind Yes  
Weeds (most, but not all) Yes  
Paper, wet Yes Brown/carbon - break into small pieces, or make a wet slurry and turn it (mix) into the compost
Wood chips/pieces/shavings (from un-treated wood) Yes Brown/carbon - good source of bulky items
Yard waste Yes  
Banana leaves Maybe Very tough to break down, must cut into small pieces to compost
Brush, large woody Maybe Use your judgment
Feces, dog Maybe Composting dog waste must be done with caution
Feces, herbivore (e.g., horse, cow, rabbit droppings) Maybe Green/nitrogen - DO NOT USE IF ANIMAL IS SICK
Fish waste (if buried deeply) Maybe Use your judgment
Palm fronds Maybe Very tough to break down, must cut into small pieces to compost, try drying first, then chipping
Plants, diseased Maybe Use your judgment
Weed seedheads Maybe Use your judgment
Wood ash Maybe Use your judgment
Animal by-products (e.g., meat, chicken, lard, bones, cheese or milk products) No This type of kitchen waste can attract vermin
Bones, unground No  
Cat litter (used) No  
Chemicals (e.g., pesticides, gasoline, diesel, or oil) No Potentially toxic to human health and the environment
Colored newsprint No  
Dairy products No  
Fat, cooking No  
Feces, cat No  
Feces, human No Might contain diseases that could be transmitted to humans
Feces, non-herbivore (not dog or bird) No Might contain diseases that could be transmitted to humans
Grease, cooking No  
Heavily colored paper No  
Inorganic trash such as plastic, foil or metals. No Will not break down in the compost process, instead recycle these materials
Mayonnaise No Hard to degrade
Meat No  
Non-organics No  
Oil, cooking No  
Particle board No  
Peanut butter No Hard to degrade
Plywood No  
Poultry No  
Salad dressing No Hard to degrade
Sawdust, treated No  
Wood, pressure-treated No  
Wood, treated No