When starting the process to reduce and reusing things comes pretty easily, especially when you know what to and what not to compost!
You can recycle glass and cans easy enough, some places do waste recycling with plastic too. Some things simply have to be placed in the trash or reused. This includes inorganic garbage, plastic, metal of all kinds, glass, and ceramics. But there are more kinds of trash.
- What do you do with the paper?
- The vegetable trimmings?
- The lawn clippings?
What will you get from this article?
Learn about what to compost and what not to compost in your compost bin, bucket, or pile.
You will walk away from this knowing exactly what commonly used compostable materials are and what can not be composted safely.
List of Things to Never Recycle:
- Do do put these items and materials in your recycling bin, bucket, or pile ever!
- Coated cardboard drink containers and juice boxes
- Brightly dyed paper
- Ceramics and pottery
- Aerosol cans
- Plastic food boxes, boxes with a plastic coat, and plastics without a recycling mark
- Plastic bags and plastic wrap
- Plastic screw on tops
- Medical waste
- Paper towels and napkins
- Pizza boxes
- Household glass
- Tyvek shipping envelopes
- Wet paper
In short, what do you do with ?The answer is composting.
There are rules to follow though. While composting your lawn clippings, leaves, organic matter, and similar is pretty easy, there are other things you should be adding as well as quite a bit you should not.
- Fortunately learning what not to compost and dealing with organic matter is not really all that difficult if you consider a few basic rules, and can learn about the many commonly used compostable materials and a few key compost gardening steps for success.
- If you remember that certain toxins, diseases, and weed types can survive composting then you will be on the right track of.
- It is just a matter of common sense. Some things do not break down- glass, metal, plastic, bone, meat, fat tissue.
- Those things should never be added to a compost pile.
- Some things might transmit disease organisms into other plants or through the food chain and should not be added to the compost pile either.
- If you happen to have plant pests with hearty seeds or that spread through the roots then you might want to not compost those materials – or you will help them replant themselves.
In more detail, here is What not to Compost.
When determining which products, materials, items, and various chemicals should never be composted, you must look at the compost microorganisms and how they are effected by that particular thing.
- Adding carbon rich materials will help your compost pile.
- Adding chemically doused carbon-rich materials will not help it.
- This means avoiding wood products that are chemically treated.
- Not just wood chips, but sawdust (which can be good if from raw untreated healthy wood), plywood, and particle board all are filled with chemicals when they come from treated wood processes.
- Wood treated with Chromated Copper Arsenate is filled with arsenic, chromium, and copper, all of which are bad for plants.
Typically the arsenic is an inorganic format that is not harmful in and of itself. What makes this bad for composting is that often added CCA treated wood are mold inhibitors. These chemicals will kill off molds and fungi that are critical to the health of your compost pile.
Other types of preservatives that can be found in treated wood include creosote, or , and ‘penta’ preservatives which can be found in utility poles and railway ties.
- Creosote repels fungi and insects too.
- Pitch oil and other oils make it hard to break down in the composting process. This product has over 150 chemical compounds in it and few if any of them break down.
- Adding Creosote treated wood to your composting efforts would be like adding plastic to it.
- Penta is also a fungi and insect repellent.
- Also studies indicate that plants in direct contact with penta treated wood is harmed by it.
- It is not recommended for use in greenhouses, raised beds, or around food plants.
- Because your compost pile relies on a complex weave of creatures to help break down organic matter anything that repels part of this system should be avoided.
List of Things to Never Compost:
- Do do put these items and materials in your compost bin, bucket, or pile ever!
- Hazardous waste
- Diseased plants
- Heavily coated or printed paper
- Human or animal feces
- Meat products
- Used personal products
- Stubborn garden plants
- Milk products
- Cooking oils
- Bread products
Keep in mind as you consider what to compost and What not to Compost that certain things will hinder your composting progress.
Once again, while considered safe in standard use no treated wood should ever be composted.
Another broad category of What not to Compost are organic items that are from diseased plants or contain items that will harm your composting efforts.
While composting does kill disease organisms, it is difficult to ensure that all of them have been killed. If you do compost diseased plant matter you risk reinfecting next year’s garden. Because of this it is best to simply not include these materials in your composting.
- While treated bone meal can be a boon to composting, adding whole bones, meat products, poultry, fish, fatty food waste products, whole eggs, milk, cheese, and other dairy items should not be added to a compost pile.
- Not only do such things attract pests like rats and local strays, but they can actually cause your composting efforts to slow progress.
There are two reasons for this.
- One is that breaking down fats reduce the air needed by other composting microbes.
- The other is that meats contain a different bacteria set that will hinder the overall composing process.
Another thing that falls under the What not to Compost label are waste products from pets and humans in the household.
There are a wide range of reasons for this but the top one is organisms that require extremely high temperatures to kill that can cause serious disease in humans.
- Many of these creatures can survive even in host plants thus infecting someone who eats the fruit or vegetables that the plan creates.
- For this reason it is highly recommended avoiding composting human feces, dog feces, cat litter, soiled paper or bedding from cage pets, and the like (cat litter is also inorganic and will not break down).
One final broad category of What not to Compost are “pernicious” weeds.
This includes such things as morning glory, bindeweed, sheep sorrel, ivy, rhizome spreading grasses, and such.
- Also, weeds that have gone to flower may leave behind seeds that can sprout next year.
- It is a good idea to make sure you can either create a hot enough compost pile to kill the seeds or avoid composting them altogether.
- If you can ensure that the weeds are truly dead by “baking” them in the hot sun for several weeks before composting then you should be safe.
Remember then What not to Compost includes chemically treated wood products, animal products, human and pet waste, weeds that tend to re-spout and all types of non-organic material.
By following these guidelines you can safely create compost for your yard, reduce the amount of trash going to the local landfills and have full, healthier, happier plants in your garden!
Related Composting Articles & Tutorials:
|1. 30 Things Never to Compost- http://www.mnn.com/
|2. What to Leave Out of Compost Bins- http://planet.green.com/
|3. Nitrogen and Carbon List of Things Not to Compost- http://www.composting101.com/what-to-use.html
|4. List of What Not to Compost: Composting Fundamentals- http://vegweb.com/
|5. 7 Great Reasons to Compost- http://greenliving.about.com/
|1. Leaf Mold is a Valuable Soil Amendment- http://www.redding.com/Summary:
|2. Lawsuit Accuses County’s of Pulling Compost Plant’s without Having a Permit- http://www.bakersfield.com/Summary:
|3. Composting is a Family Affair- http://www.ocregister.com/Summary:
If you follow the list of items and materials above, in which can and cannot be composted, you will create amazing soil and then plants.
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