12 Things you should not compost
Thank goodness having one bin for trash is an idea of the past! One that we should never go back to because of how wasteful we used to be. We sent things to the landfill that might have nourished our yards and buried them side-by-side with materials that should have been reclaimed and put back in the production chain. That created a very potent greenhouse gas, methane which damaged our environment.
The good news is that today most of us have a compost bin that helps reduce sidewalk litter, but not everything is suitable for those bins. What is even better is that after nine to twelve months, you get free fertiliser for your garden and plant pots to keep them healthy and looking beautiful.
Composting is a simple and effective way to deal with food waste and fertilize your garden. Compost bins are readily available for purchase in various shapes, sizes and materials. You can also easily make your compost bin or even create a compost pile. Layers of brown material, food scraps and green material decompose, turning into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Although composting is easy and advantageous, there are still some items that you should never toss into the mix. Here are some basic compost no-no’s to live by.
We have created a list of everyday things people mistakenly try to compost. We chose items generally avoided by experienced compost gurus. All set? To the bins!
- Bread Products
That includes cakes, pasta and most baked goods. Put any of these items in your compost pile, and you've rolled out the welcome mat for unwanted pests.
- Cooking Oil
It smells like food to animal and insect visitors. It can also upset the compost's moisture balance.
Meat is another stinky attractant, another pest magnet. Not only will your dogs and local wildlife be unable to resist the temptation, but the internal temperatures created during the composting process might not get high enough to kill pathogens. That includes bones, blood, fish and animal fats.
- Diseased Plants
Although the composter is the perfect spot for plants: trash them instead. You don't want to transfer fungal or bacterial problems to whatever ends up growing in your finished compost.
For a backyard compost bin, the temperatures are often lower than commercial facilities that treat all kinds of yard debris, so use caution with which plants you add. Weeds can survive the heat limitations of a backyard composter, meaning they can pop up again in the garden after you have dispersed the compost.
- Heavily Coated or Printed Paper
It is a long list, including magazines, catalogues, printed cards and most printed or metallic wrapping paper. Foils do not break down, and you don't need a bunch of exotic printing chemicals in your compost.
- Human or Animal Waste
Although it may seem like a natural material, it is too much of a health risk. That includes dog poop and kitty litter. Do you want cat poop in your lettuce? Besides the yuck factor: parasites, bacteria, germs and viruses that are harmful to humans can survive in this waste.
- Dairy Products
Refrain from composting milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream. While they will certainly degrade, they are attractive to pests.
Cooked rice is an unusually fertile breeding ground for the kinds of bacteria that you don't want in your pile. Raw rice attracts varmints.
So tempting. But unless you know the wood it came from was untreated, stay away.
- Stubborn Garden Plants
Dandelions, ivy and bugweed are examples of plants or weeds which will probably regard your compost heap as a great place to grow rather than decompose.
- Used Personal Products
Tampons, diapers and items soiled in human blood or fluids are a health risk.