What can I compost?
- Anything that was once living will compost, but some items are best avoided. Meat, dairy and cooked food can attract vermin and should not be home-composted.
- For best results, use a mixture of types of ingredient. The right balance is something learnt by experience, but a rough guide is to use equal amounts by volume of greens and browns (see below).
- Some things, like grass mowings and soft young weeds, rot quickly. They work as 'activators', getting the composting started, but on their own will decay to a smelly mess.
- Older and tougher plant material is slower to rot but gives body to the finished compost - and usually makes up the bulk of a compost heap. Woody items decay very slowly; they are best chopped or shredded first, where appropriate.
'Greens' or nitrogen rich ingredients
- Urine (diluted with water 20:1)
- Comfrey leaves
- Grass cuttings
Other green materials
- Raw vegetable peelings from your kitchen
- Tea bags and leaves, coffee grounds
- Young green weed growth – avoid weeds with seeds
- Soft green prunings
- Animal manure from herbivores eg cows and horses
- Poultry manure and bedding
'Browns' or carbon rich ingredients - slow to rot
- Cardboard eg. cereal packets and egg boxes
- Waste paper and junk mail, including shredded confidential waste
- Cardboard tubes
- Glossy magazines – although it is better for the environment to pass them on to your local doctors’ or dentists' surgery or send them for recycling
- Newspaper – although it is better for the environment to send your newspapers for recycling
- Bedding from vegetarian pets eg rabbits, guinea pigs – hay, straw, shredded paper, wood shavings
- Tough hedge clippings
- Woody prunings
- Old bedding plants
- Wood shavings
- Fallen leaves can be composted but the best use of them is to make leafmould
Other compostable items
- Wood ash, in moderation
- Hair, nail clippings
- Egg shells (crushed)
- Natural fibres eg. 100% wool or cotton
Do NOT compost
- Cooked food
- Coal & coke ash
- Cat litter
- Dog faeces
- Disposable nappies