Not everything is safe to use as compost; Here are 5 common items to keep out, and 5 to be very cautious of.
We talk a lot about composting here on Planet Green. While there are many everyday kitchen and some animal scraps that can be used, there are many that cannot. Let's look at a few common items that you should not put in your compost, especially if the final product is going to be used a vegetable or other edible garden.
Never Put the Following Items in Your Compost Pile:
1. Pet waste from Carnivorous Animals
Chicken, horse, and cow dung is fair game in any garden, but your standard cat or dog poo can introduce parasites and infection, which is the last thing you want to be adding to any garden meant for human consumption.
2. Meat and Bone Scraps
Most kitchen scraps are perfect for your garden, but you'll want to stay away from throwing any leftover meat products or bones which can attract vermin, as well as elicit some pretty foul odor. This goes for any leftover cooking grease, which can be most beneficially reused as biofuel.
3. Mayonnaise, Salad Dressing, and Other Oily Foodstuffs
Unfortunately these items do not break down well and are best left out of your garden. The same goes for peanut butter. If you want a good place to use a slightly expired jar of mayonnaise, though, try it as a hair conditioner. (Not recommended if the mayonnaise already stinks!)
4. Colored or Glossy Paper Most paper products are fine for composting, but due to their high chemical content most magazine/glossy print would be better off recycled rather than composted. 5. Chemically Treated Wood While most wood is very biodegradable, you want to be careful of chemically treated wood shavings (a.k.a. pressure-treated wood) which can add too many heavy metals into the soil and spell disaster for a balanced garden. Compost These Items Only with Caution: 6. Dairy Products A small amount of moldy cheese and other dairy products are fine for use as compost, but too much can lead to a garden becoming rancid over time. 7. Grains and Carbohydrates Grains make great compost and most plants love them, but unfortunately there are a host of other rodents and vermin that love them too. 8. Pine Needles These are considered acidic and therefore should be used in small quantities in your soil. 9. Dryer Lint Dryer lint is a great compost material, but it is not so great if the majority of clothes it comes from were not made from natural fibers. Choose your fabrics carefully. 10. Weeds Most gardener's don't want to consciously plant weeds in their garden for obvious reasons, so be very careful when using them as compost. As long as the weeds have not gone to seed, then they should be okay to use.