Food Disposal & Composting

Overview

The compost craze is spreading throughout the United States. Gardeners compost waste produced in the yard and kitchen to mix with their garden soil. This makes rich, black organic matter referred to as black gold. Vegetables, flowers and other plants thrive on it and the gardener saves money. Some gardeners even regard composting as a hobby.

Foods Allowed

Put these foods in the compost pile: Vegetables, fruits, egg shells, pasta, bread, coffee grounds, tea bags and vegetable and fruit peelings. Any vegetation not chemically treated with herbicides may go in the compost. These are referred to as greens.

Browns in the Compost

Leaves, sawdust, hay and straw are allowed in the compost pile as long as they aren't chemically treated. Otherwise, you could be introducing arsenic into the pile. Put paper, paper towels, toilet paper tubes and the daily newspaper in the compost. There's no need to worry about chemicals in the newspaper ink. They're made with vegetable dyes.

Manures

Chicken, cow and horse manure may be added to the compost pile, but don't add human, dog or cat waste to the pile. These wastes carry diseases that can be easily transmitted to vegetables and then to humans.

Food Products not Allowed in the Compost Pile

Keep certain foods out of the compost pile: meat, bones, fatty foods and milk products. Those foods take longer to decompose, attracting rats and other undesirable pests.

Keep Chemicals Out of the Compost Pile

Vegetation makes up most of the ingredients in a compost pile, but not if it's diseased. Therefore, keep out diseased plants, or the disease will take over your garden. Don't compost grass clippings if you treated them with herbicides or pesticides. Perennial weeds shouldn't go in the compost either, unless you want to grow a good crop of weeds in your vegetable garden next year. Most experts say weeds can be composted if you get them before they turn to seed. Catching them in time can be tricky especially if you have a large variety of weeds in the yard.

Keywords: composting food, what to compost, foods for composting

About this Author

Brenda Reeves started writing in 1979. Specializing in gardening topics, her articles appear on numerous Web sites, including eHow. Reeves has a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from California State University, Northridge.