Monday, August 13, 2012

Curbside Compost

Composting is really catching on.  In fact, though it's hard to imagine here in a town where I still have to haul my own recycling items to the plant myself, many big cities are moving to a three-bin trash pick-up system:  trash, recycling, and compost.  This allows those who don't have the space to compost for themselves a way to reduce landfill trash and help the environment by turning yesterday's orange peel into tomorrow's fertilizer for the local park.

While great for apartment dwellers who may not have a way to benefit from their own compost pile, compost pick-up is not really necessary for most of us.  With the commitment of a little space and time, most house dwellers can make use of rich compost in their own lawns and gardens.

If you've got the space to set up a simple system, get started! 

Of course, anything that grows is fit for the compost, but here's a list of some things you may not have thought of that can also go on the pile:

1. Coffee grounds and filters
2. Tea bags
3. Used paper napkins
4. Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
5. Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
6. The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
7. Plain cooked pasta
8. Plain cooked rice
9.  Stale bread (of course, if you've got chickens, give items 7-9 to them -- they'll thank you!)
10. Old herbs and spices
11. Wine corks
12. Paper egg cartons
13. Toothpicks
14. Nail clippings
15. 100% Cotton cotton balls
16. Dryer lint
17. Pencil shavings
18. Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
19. Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
20. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
21. Dead houseplants and their soil
22. Flowers from floral arrangements
23. Used matches
24. Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit
25. Jack o' Lanterns  (it'll be that time before we know it!)

For a more complete list of things you may be surpised can go to the pile, check here.


  1. Thank you for this post! I always wonder exactly what I can or can't compost. So, the cat hair in the vacuum cleaner is okay?

    1. Yep! Throw that hair on the pile :)