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At A Glance: What To Compost, And What Not To

If you want to get composting, check out our simple guide on what to (and not to) compost.

Green Waste

Green waste is anything 100% natural and plant-based from the garden or kitchen:

  • Grass clippings.
  • Flowers – chop stems, and don’t use plants affected by disease.
  • Nettles – these may not be your friend, but they are great for promoting composting.
  • Veg and fruit peel.
  • Uncooked, spoiled fruit and veg.
  • Young weeds- not perennials.
  • Manure from herbivores e.g. rabbits, cows, horses.
  • Tea leaves (the bags may take a while to break down).

Brown Waste

Brown waste rots more slowly and has a higher carbon content, so don’t overload your compost heap with it!

  • Coffee grounds.
  • Dead leaves.
  • Cardboard that has been torn into small pieces.
  • Twigs and hedge clippings.
  • Sawdust and herbivore bedding.

Other Compostable Items

Not a lot of people know this, but the following can be composted:

  • Wood ash in small amounts.
  • Hair - both human or animal - is high in nitrogen and good to compost.
  • Egg shells – make sure you wash them and crush them first.
  • Wool and cotton – as long as it is 100% and cut into small pieces.
  • Tumble dryer lint.
  • Vacuum contents - as long as your vacuum doesn’t contain mostly Lego or something that you know is either poisonous or not compostable.

What NOT To Compost

Regardless of what you hear to the contrary, you should never compost the following:

  • Cooked or raw meat or fish, as they can attract rats and spread disease.
  • Dog and cat faeces, including cat litter.
  • Glossy magazines, flyers or paper – these contain too many artificial chemicals and won’t break down.
  • Barbecue coals and ash contain sulphur oxides, which can be harmful.

If you are unsure about what you can, and can’t compost, or you would like help making your garden look beautiful, get in touch with a trusted local gardener.

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