Composting is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for gardening. However, not all food waste is suitable for composting. In fact, there are several items that should never be added to a compost pile or bin. This section will provide an overview of what not to compost, including meat, dairy products, oils and fats, citrus fruit peels, stickers on fruits and vegetables, and more.
Meat, fish, and bones are some of the biggest composting don’ts when it comes to food waste. These items can attract unwanted pests like raccoons, rodents, and maggots due to their strong odors. Furthermore, they take a long time to break down, which can slow the overall decomposition process of the compost pile or bin.
Dairy products and eggs are also not recommended for composting. As they break down and ferment, they emit a strong odor that pests and scavengers love. Butter, cooking oil, animal fat, and grease should also be avoided as they shift the moisture balance of the pile and attract pests. Paper towels saturated with grease are an exception and can be composted.
Fat-based condiments and foods like oily salad dressing and peanut butter should not be added to the compost pile or bin for the same reason as #3.
Citrus fruit peels are another item that should not be composted. They take a long time to break down and can throw off the pH of the compost bin, slowing the overall decomposition process. Additionally, composting citrus is especially forbidden if you have a vermicomposter, as it can kill the worms.
Onions and garlic scraps are not recommended for vermicomposters but can be added in small amounts to a regular compost pile, provided they are balanced with other items. Baked goods and cooked grains like rice and freshly baked bread products are also not suitable for composting due to the harmful bacteria they breed and the rodents they attract. Plain bread that is stale and hard, uncooked rice, and pasta can be composted in moderation if buried deeply.
Coffee pods and tea bags are not suitable for composting due to the materials they are made of, including plastic and nylon fibers. However, coffee grounds and tea leaves are excellent sources of nutrients for compost and can be added without the bags and pods. Stickers on fruits and vegetables are also not compostable and can cause contamination in the compost pile or bin. Coated cardboard packaging with plastic or foil layers, bioplastic packaging, and cellophane should also be avoided as they are not suitable for home composting.
In summary, there are several food waste items that should not be added to a compost pile or bin, including meat, dairy products, oils and fats, citrus fruit peels, stickers on fruits and vegetables, and more. By avoiding these items, composters can create a healthy and nutrient-rich soil for gardening while reducing waste.