Home composting isn’t just for farmers anymore! The practice is becoming increasingly popular among urban environmentalists who are eager to cut their landfill contributions: from apartment dwellers growing gardens on top of NYC roofing, to folks who participate in their local municipal compost program, to homeowners looking to turn their backyards into a teeny tiny sustainable city farms. Composting is a key component of the eco-friendly puzzle, because it takes waste that’s destined for landfills and turns it into usable, nutrient-rich soil, which is perfect for gardening. Most people focus on kitchen scraps, but that’s just the very tip of the composting iceberg. Did you know you could also include the following? Just be sure that anything you compost is not made from plastic (in the case of the rope) and free of toxic chemicals (sawdush, ashes).

  1. Dryer lint
  2. “Dust bunnies”
  3. The insides of a vacuum bag (just empty the bag into the compost bin)
  4. The contents of your dustpan (just use discretion)
  5. Coffee grounds
  6. Coffee filters
  7. Tea bags/loose leaf tea
  8. Soy/rice/almond/etc milk
  9. Nut shells (but not walnut, which may be toxic to plants)
  10. Pumpkin/sunflower/sesame seeds (chop them to ensure they won’t grow)
  11. Avocado pits (chop them up so they won’t sprout)
  12. Pickles
  13. Stale tortilla chips/potato chips
  14. Stale crackers
  15. Crumbs (bread or other baked goods)
  16. Old breakfast cereal
  17. Bran (wheat or oat, etc)
  18. Seaweed/nori/kelp
  19. Tofu/tempeh
  20. Frozen fruits and vegetables
  21. Expired jam or jelly
  22. Egg shells
  23. Old, moldy "soy dairy" and other dairy substitutes
  24. Stale Halloween candy and old nutrition/protein bars
  25. Popcorn kernels (post-popping, the ones that didn’t make it)
  26. Old herbs and spices
  27. Cooked rice
  28. Cooked pasta
  29. Oatmeal
  30. Peanut shells
  31. Booze (beer and wine)
  32. Wine corks
  33. Egg cartons (not Styrofoam)
  34. Toothpicks
  35. Q-tips (not the plastic ones)
  36. Bamboo skewers
  37. Matches
  38. Sawdust
  39. Pencil shavings
  40. Fireplace ash (fully extinguished and cooled)
  41. Burlap sacks
  42. Cotton or wool clothes, cut into strips
  43. Paper towels
  44. Paper napkins
  45. Paper table cloths
  46. Paper plates (non wax- or plastic-coated)
  47. Crepe paper streamers
  48. Holiday wreaths
  49. Balloons (latex only)
  50. Raffia fibers (wrapping or decoration)
  51. Excelsior (wood wool)
  52. Old potpourri
  53. Dried flowers
  54. Fresh flowers
  55. Dead houseplants (or their dropped leaves)
  56. Human hair (from a home haircut or saved from the barber shop)
  57. Toenail clippings
  58. Trimmings from an electric razor
  59. Pet hair
  60. Domestic bird and bunny droppings
  61. Feathers
  62. Fish food
  63. Aquatic plants (from aquariums)
  64. Dog food
  65. Rawhide dog chews
  66. Ratty old rope
  67. The dead flies on the windowsill
  68. Pizza boxes and cereal boxes (shredded first)
  69. Toilet paper and paper towel rolls (shredded first)
  70. Paper muffin/cupcake cups
  71. Cellophane bags (real cellophane, not regular clear plastic)
  72. Kleenex (including used)
  73. Condoms (latex only)
  74. Old loofas (real, not synthetic)
  75. Cotton balls
  76. Tampon applicators (cardboard, not plastic) and tampons (including used)
  77. Newspaper
  78. Junk mail
  79. Old business cards (not the glossy ones)
  80. Old masking tape
  81. White glue/plain paste
Happy composting, everyone. Please tell us what you compost!

Sayward Rebhal originally wrote this story for Networx.com. It is reprinted with permission here.

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81 things you can compost
Most people focus on kitchen scraps, but that's just the very tip of the composting iceberg. Did you know you could also include the following?