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What not to put in your compost bin

Posted by Catherine Wainwright, on August 14, 2023.

Read time: 2 minutes

Composting is a great way to turn organic waste like food scraps and garden waste into nutrient-rich soil that’s good for your garden and the environment.

It helps reduce waste going to landfills and minimises the use of harmful chemical fertilisers.

However, knowing what not to put in your compost bin is essential to keeping your compost pile healthy and effective.

Meat, fish, and dairy products: These items can cause bad smells and attract unwanted visitors like rodents. They also break down slowly, so it’s best to compost them with special methods like Vermicomposting or Bokashi composting, which are designed to handle food scraps.

Here are some things that should never go in your compost bin:

Fats, oils, and grease: These substances can disrupt the composting process by making it difficult for good bacteria to thrive. They also create unpleasant odours, attract rodents, and can clog drainage lines, creating waterlogging and anaerobic conditions in your compost pile.

Diseased or insect-infested plants: These plants can infect your compost pile and harm other plants in your garden. If you think a plant may be contaminated, it’s best to dispose of it instead of adding it to your compost pile.

Coal or charcoal ashes: Ash from coal or charcoal can make your compost pile too alkaline, and it can also contain heavy metals and other toxic substances that are harmful to your garden.

Pet faeces or litter: These substances may be contaminated with diseases and parasites that can harm your garden and your compost. They can also attract pests and rodents to your compost pile.

Synthetic materials (plastic, metal, glass, etc.): Synthetic materials do not decompose during the composting process and can harm the ecosystem.

By avoiding these materials and only adding organic waste, you can maintain a healthy and effective compost pile.

If you would like a guide on what you can put in your compost bin, check out this blog post. Happy composting!

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