10 Things to Throw in Your Compost Bin – Some That May Surprise You

Composting not only helps you improve the quality of the soil but can also help you recycle the waste materials that would otherwise make your surroundings untidy and germ-prone. Though composting is an ancient practice, it has been somewhat forgotten in the 21st century. Thankfully, people have started recognizing its benefits now and have started installing compost bins in their homes.

There are a lot of things that you can add to your compost bin starting from food leftovers, unused parts of fruits and vegetables, dried leaves, decomposing flowers, etc. As you can add anything organic to the compost bin, the list can get endless. Here are some unusual things that can be thrown in the compost bin that can take you by surprise:

  1. Pencil shavings

You might avoid adding pencil shavings in the compost bin by thinking that they contain lead. However, the practice of using lead for making pencils was stopped way back in the late 1970s. These days graphite is used in pencils which is a type of carbon. Therefore, pencil shavings are safe to be added to your compost bin.


  1. Tea or tea bags

Tea is organic and even the tea bags are made of paper that can be easily decomposed. Therefore, instead of throwing the leftover tea powder or tea bags after making tea into the dustbin, you can throw them in the compost bin and make soil-friendly compost.

  1. Liquor

You may wonder why anyone would throw their expensive liquor in the compost bin, but fermented liquid is a good ingredient for compost. So, you can throw beer, wine, or any other liquor that is not useful anymore in the compost heap.

  1. Latex balloons

Latex is made from natural rubber that is obtained from the trees. As a result, it is decomposable and can form a part of your compost pile.

You can decompose anything made from latex such as latex balloons, condoms, gloves, etc. in the compost bin. However, do not forget to shred them before adding them to the heap, or else they would not decompose quickly.

  1. Wine corks

Wine corks are manufactured from the trees that produce barks that are thick and rugged. Therefore, they can be composted if you throw them in your compost pile.

However, these days, corks that are made from plastic and other synthetic materials are also being used on a wide scale. The plastic and synthetic corks will never decompose in the bin and may also hinder the decomposition process of other materials. You should verify whether the cork that you are planning to add to your compost pile is made of wood barks or not.

  1. Lint

Lint is a carbon-rich material and can be decomposed as well. When you dry your clothes in the washing machine, the dryer collects lint in its trapper. You may transfer this lint into a jar and remember to add it to the compost heap every time you manage to collect a handful of it.

  1. Pet droppings

If you have a pet like a parrot, myna, or any bird at home, its droppings could enhance the nutrients of your compost heap. The poop of rabbits can also be a useful ingredient in your compost bin. Therefore, the next time your pet poops, conserve it in a bag or basket, and throw it in your bin for making high-quality compost.

However, you should not add the droppings of carnivorous pets in the compost bin as their diet contains items that may be hard to decompose. 

  1. Wardrobe items

The unused and waste materials from your wardrobe can be thrown in the compost bin if they are made from fabrics like cotton and wool. For example, you can dump used tissue paper, napkins, torn neckties, littered scarves, etc. Paper towels and toilet paper can also form an important ingredient in the compost bin. These materials can especially balance the Carbon Nitrogen (C/N) ratio if you are short of the brown composts that restore the carbon content in the pile.

Brown composts are dry, woody materials such as fall leaves, twigs, paper, cotton fabric, etc. Green composts are wet, green materials from plants such as vegetables and fruit scraps, eggshells, grasses, etc.

  1. Kitchen items

Your kitchen contains a list of ingredients that can be dumped into the compost bin for creating premium-quality compost that can enrich the nutrients of your garden soil. You can throw corn cobs, stale bread, stalks of cauliflower or broccoli, stale rice, stale pasta, fruit peels, eggshells, spices, and herbs that have lost their aroma and quality, and many other items to the compost pile.

The food items, especially the green ones, are high in nitrogen. They will help you to balance the C/N ratio when the items that contain nitrogen are lacking in the pile.

  1. Items from your study room

Your study room can contain plenty of ingredients that can enhance the nutrition value of your compost. These can be old books, newspapers, cardboard sheets, notebooks, diaries, information booklets, visiting cards, or anything made from paper.

However, ensure that the paper, textbooks, or newspapers that you are supposed to throw in the bin do not contain ink that is made from artificial ingredients or chemicals. The ink that is made from natural or vegetable-based ingredients proves to be harmless for composting.

Also, make sure that the paper and cardboard pieces are converted into tiny pieces by using a shredder before you add them to the compost bin. The reason for this is that finely shredded paper and cardboard pieces will decompose faster as compared to the sheets.

Parting words...

You can take cues from these things and add as many items as you want in the compost bin because the more versatile your heap is, the richer your compost will become. However, you should avoid adding any inorganic or synthetic materials to the bin as most of them will not decompose and may also alter the nutrition value of the compost.