Composting can be confusing, with the never-ending options
of components you can add to your pile. However, to balance the composition of
your compost, you’ll need a good mix of nitrogen-rich wet greens, and carbon-rich
dry browns. Here are some items you can easily add to your pile.
A staple brown, newspapers will add carbon to your compost
pile. Be sure to shred them first because a bundled mess of newspapers will not
allow for the necessary flow of oxygen.
This is another readily available item you can add to your
compost pile, as we all know how quickly a household can go through a carton of
Adding eggshells to compost adds calcium to the makeup of
your compost. This important nutrient helps plants build cell walls and without
it they cannot grow as fast.
While it isn’t necessary to crush eggshells before
composting them, doing so will speed up their decomposition. You also may want
to consider washing them before so that you don’t attract any critters, as well
as reduce the risk of disease which raw eggs pose.
3. Dried leaves
Another commonly used carbon-rich brown, dead leaves can be
easily found around your house. However, you do need to prepare them before
adding them to your pile. They should be shredded and layered with fresh grass
clippings or other greens, and moistened with water.
4. Fruit and
Scraps like peels, skins, and stalks from vegetables and
fruits are another component you can compost. You should keep them buried deep
in your compost heap to prevent pests from appearing.
5. Tea bags
Compared to loose tea leaves, tea bags are more complicated to
compost because they can be made up of a variety of materials, and not all of
them may be natural fibres.
If you’re concerned about introducing synthetic fibres into
your compost pile, you can empty out the tea remnants manually and discard the
6. Shredded cereal
boxes and other cardboard materials
It is critical that all the cardboard you use for your
compost is shredded into small pieces because large pieces take longer to
Turn the compost pile every five days to speed up the decomposition
process. In six to eight months, the compost will be ready to use in the
7. Plate scrapings
(excluding meat and bones)
Compost in a DIY bin typically doesn’t get hot enough to
break down meat or bones, so if you do want to use plate scrapings in your
compost pile, avoid these items. Same goes for dairy products, sauces, oils and
fats, though small traces of them are completely fine.
8. Juice pulp
If you’re the type who juices a lot, you can actually
salvage the skins, peels and pulp for your compost pile. Not only does the
fibrous pulp break down quickly, but it enriches your compost with a variety of
9. Used paper towels
Paper towels and napkins are considered carbon-rich browns
and can be used as a substitute for dried leaves. Make sure they’re not overly
greasy so they can decompose quickly. This is because oil and grease reduces
the amount of air in your compost, eventually leading to the growth of
anaerobic bacteria, which creates an unpleasant stench.
10. Hair (human or
Yes, you can actually compost hair! The hair will break down
easier if you spread it out instead of dropping it in large clumps. It’ll take
a bit more than a month for it to break down enough before you can add it to
your garden soil.
11. Pencil shavings
Most pencils are made from cedar, a wood that insects hate.
Using pencil shavings in your compost pile and subsequently soil therefore, prevents
pests from appearing.
12. Latex balloons
Latex is a naturally biodegradable material. So if you have
tons of them lying around after a party, toss them in your pile – they’ll be gone
within six months.
13. Pet droppings
If you’re set on minimising your household’s waste output,
you may want to try composting your pet’s droppings. However, if you do,
remember never to use it in your vegetable or herb garden and let it compost
for a long time so as to kill off as many harmful microorganisms as possible.