11 Things You Should Never Place in Your Compost Bin

It is easy to make compost from your yard and kitchen wastes. Not all materials are equal to be composted for the same reason. Some food wastes, for example, can attract pests. Some yard wastes can also slow down or stop the process of decomposition, which can prove frustrating. You should not put anything in your compost that could cause harm to your plants . These are the things you should not put in your compost container.

What Not to Put in Your Compost Bin?

The following materials should not be added to your compost bin: 

  1. Treated wood or Plants With Pesticides

Do not add plants that have been treated with insecticides or fungicides to your compost pile. Unintentionally, the beneficial composting organisms can be killed by the residue of chemical pesticides and fungicides used in the garden. After compost has been added, residual herbicides can cause damage to plants. Wood that has been treated with pressure, painted, stained or varnished may also be affected.

  1. Insect-Infested or Diseased Plants

To kill bugs or disease pathogens such as bacteria and fungi, it takes a hot compost heap, one that has maintained a temperature of at least 141°F to 145°F for several days. It is possible for pests or diseases to survive in home compost piles and bins that don’t reach these high temperatures.

  1. Citrus Peels & Onions

Although fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen make up the majority of a home compost bin’s ingredients, there are two exceptions to this rule: onions and citrus peel. Citrus peels can take a long time to break down unless they are cut into small pieces. This will slow down the process and delay composting.

It doesn’t matter if you throw in some onion and citrus peel scraps occasionally into your compost bin. But if your apartment has worm bins or vermicompost, then you should not put citrus peels, onions, and garlic scraps in your compost bin. They will cause damage to your worms.

Read How to Make Compost at Home for Gardening? for more details.

  1. Meat and Fish Scraps

The fishy smell of old seafood and the stench of rotting meat can be a bad omen. However, the same repelling scents can attract skunks and other wild animals like rats, raccoons and flies. If you don’t want the pile to be a picnic spot for local fauna, then please do not put any meat, fish, bones, or other animal flesh in it. Even if your compost bin is closed, unwanted pests may be attracted to it.

  1. Dairy, Fats, and Oils

For the same reason, dairy products like butter, yogurt, milk, and sour cream should be avoided. Avoid processed foods with a lot of dairy or fat. They attract unsolicited visitors. 

  1. Tea and Coffee Bags

A compost pile is a good place to put coffee grounds and tea leaves. These materials contain a lot of essential elements for plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, you should not add coffee grounds or tea leaves to compost with their bags.

Some tea and coffee products are packaged in bags made of nylon and other synthetic fibers. These materials do not degrade in compost piles, and can contain plastic particles and chemicals. If you are not sure if the coffee bags are made of natural materials like hemp or cotton, don’t compost them.

  1. Animal Waste

Your compost pile should not contain cat and dog poop. The end product can become hazardous waste if they are not properly cleaned up. Both cats and dogs may carry parasites and bacteria that can cause disease. The problem with cat feces or cat litter is even more serious because they could carry the organism that causes Toxoplasmosis. It can be fatal to pregnant women and can cause severe injury to their unborn children. Dog poop is most often contaminated by roundworms.

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  1. Weed Seeds

This is also true for weeds that have produced seeds. They can survive in compost temperatures below 145°F. It’s not a good idea to sow next year’s crop of weeds and then spread your compost.

  1. Charcoal Ash

While you can add some ashes from a wood-burning fireplace to your compost bin (in small quantities), you should avoid adding coal ash or charcoal ash. These materials are high in sulfur, which can cause your compost to be too acidic for most plants. Charcoal briquettes can also contain chemicals that could harm plants when you compost it to your garden .

  1. Black Walnut Tree Debris

Untreated yard and garden waste is fine to add to your compost pile or compost bin. However, there are exceptions. The black walnut leaves, twigs and roots, as well as the roots, contain a substance called juglone, which can reduce the growth of many plants, sometimes even killing them. Research has shown that juglone can be reduced to a manageable level with heat and time. Some plants are sensitive than others, such as edible crops like tomato, pepper, potato and ornamentals like azaleas, viburnum and hydrangea. However, it is better to keep the black walnut debris out than to deal with any potential problems later.

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  1. Glossy and Coated Paper

Many paper products can be used as compost, including soy-ink papers, old paper towels, tissues, and even shredded paper. They come from trees! However, paper treated with plastic-like coatings in order to make it bright and colorful, glossy and shiny, such as magazines, will not decompose properly and can contain toxins. It is therefore not suitable for your compost pile.

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