Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. However, not everything can be composted. Certain items can contaminate your compost pile and create an imbalance in the decomposition process. To help you avoid any composting mishaps, we have compiled a list of the top 10 items you should never compost.
1. Meat and Fish: While plant-based food scraps can be composted, meat and fish products should be avoided. They can attract pests such as rats and introduce diseases and harmful bacteria into the compost pile.
2. Dairy Products: Similar to meat and fish, dairy products can attract pests and produce foul odors. They take longer to break down and can create an imbalanced compost pile lacking in essential nutrients.
3. Oils and Fats: Oils and fats can solidify, creating a barrier that prevents essential airflow in your compost. They also have a strong aroma that can attract unwanted pests.
4. Bones: Just like meat and fish, bones take a long time to break down and can introduce unwanted pests. They can also be difficult to handle and might not fully decompose in your compost pile.
5. Citrus Peels: Citrus peels are highly acidic and take longer to break down compared to other organic materials. This imbalance can affect the pH level of your compost, hampering the decomposition process.
6. Glossy or Coated Paper: These types of paper, often found in magazines, wrappers, or containers, contain chemicals and coatings that don’t break down easily. Stick to using plain and uncoated paper such as newspaper or cardboard.
7. Synthetic Fabrics: Synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, and acrylic are not biodegradable and should never be composted. They take an extremely long time to break down and can release harmful chemicals into the soil.
8. Diseased Plants: Avoid composting plants that have been infected by any kind of disease or pests. The composting process may not fully eliminate the pathogens, potentially spreading them to your garden when applied.
9. Weeds with Seeds: While weeds themselves can be composted, those with mature seeds should be discarded. The composting process may not destroy the seeds, leading to unwanted weed growth when the compost is applied to your garden.
10. Pet Waste: Pet waste, including that of cats and dogs, should not be added to compost. They can contain harmful pathogens, parasites, and bacteria that can survive the composting process and pose a risk to human health.
To maintain a healthy compost pile, it’s essential to strike a balance between “green” (nitrogen-rich) and “brown” (carbon-rich) materials. Stick to composting vegetable scraps, fruit peels, yard waste, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and other organic plant matter. By avoiding the items listed above, you’ll ensure the quality of your compost and create a nutrient-rich amendment for your garden.