What Things Should Be Put in a Composting Bin?

Compost comes from the decomposition of organic matter. It's full of nutrients and can be used as mulch or added to your yard to help prevent soil erosion. Many people make their own compost because it's so inexpensive to make. It's also a form of recycling. However, some items make better compost than others.

From the Yard

Start your compost pile with waste from your yard. This includes grass clippings, old plants, dead flowers and prunings from bushes and trees (keep them small). And, of course, all those dead leaves.

From the Kitchen

Look in the kitchen for food scraps. Stick to plant-based scraps such as those from vegetables and fruit (rinds, peels). Coffee grounds and tea leaves work well too.

From the Workspace

Head to your home office or workbench for composting material. Try shredded paper or non-treated wood chips.

What to Avoid

Certain materials may be organic but aren't very good for composting. Proteins or fats may attract rodents or pests, so avoid putting meat scraps, bones, dairy products, sauces or oils in your bin. Also keep pet feces out. While organic, it can have harmful pathogens. Leave out invasive weeds, treated wood and charcoal. Finally, leave out anything not considered organic, such as glass or plastic. These materials will not decompose.

About this Author

Andrea Kearns is an award-winning broadcast journalist whose work has aired across New York State. After nearly a decade of covering the events and people who make history, she is now sharing her knowledge and experience in the classroom as a high school history and government teacher.