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About composting

What to compost - The IN List

  • Animal manure
  • Cardboard rolls
  • Clean paper
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Cotton rags
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Eggshells
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Grass clippings
  • Hair and fur
  • Hay and straw
  • Houseplants
  • Leaves
  • Nut shells
  • Sawdust
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Tea bags
  • Wood chips
  • Wool rags
  • Yard trimmings

What not to compost - The OUT List

Leave out/reason why

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs  - Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
  • Coal or charcoal ash  - Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, egg yolks, milk, sour cream, yogurt)  - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants  - Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps  - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter) - Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides  - Might kill beneficial composting organisms

NOTE: Finished compost can be applied to lawns and gardens to help condition the soil and replenish nutrients. Compost, however, should not be used as potting soil for houseplants because of the presence of weed and grass seeds.

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