10 things you didn’t know you could compost

Did you know that half of what most people throw in the bin could be composted? We’ve had a compost bin for four years now and it never ceases to amaze me. Day after day, I chuck in bowlfuls of stuff and just when I think it can’t take any more – BOOM – the level drops right down. It’s like the opposite of the Magic Pudding.

There are many methods of composting, but the simple rule I follow is this: dry stuff/wet stuff. Nitrogen-rich things like garden cuttings and veggie scraps are the wet stuff, and soil, shredded paper,brown leaves are the dry stuff. Make sure you’ve got a mix of wet stuff and dry stuff going in and you should be right. If you’re new to composting or are looking for a few tips, this is a great place to start. And here is a fantastic “recipe” for a low-cost compost bin using recycled materials.

The more I compost, the more I want to compost. I’ll questions just about anything before I put it in the bin. Just the other day it dawned on me that that wad of snotty tissues in my hand might have a happier end of life in the compost bin than landfill and guess what? Yes you can compost used tissues, even snotty revolting ones when both kids have a cold.

Here are 10 other things you can compost that might surprise you. Or not. If you’re already a Compost Queen and you know of more, share!

1.     Hair – human or pets

2.     Cotton cloth, such as old nappies and tea towels

3.     Newspaper and shredded office paper

4.     The stuff you sweep of the floor nine times a day

5.     Plain cooked pasta and rice

6.     Cardboard packaging, toilet rolls (rip them up)

7.     Cotton wool and cotton pads

8.     Toothpicks and skewers

9.     Champagne corks (cos I know you go through a lot of these)

10.   Road kill

Okay, should probably explain the last one… There’s this thing called the Berkley Method or Hot Composting, which gives you quality compost in just a few weeks. It involves a carcass, lots of urine and a big black tarp. You can find out more about it here.

 Got any composting tips? Don’t be shy, let us know!

[Image credit: solylunafamilia on Flickr



  1. Susan says

    YES! Thanks for doing the hard work for me, I have been wanting to start a compost for a year now. I’m starting next week!

    • (dt)em says

      Do it, they’re really not much fuss and it’s so satisfying seeing how much less rubbish you throw away x

  2. Amy says

    hi Jo,

    I’m trying to start composting / worm-farming properly. Hubby has 2 compost bins and we have been chucking organic waste in there but I don’t think we’re doing it correctly (it stinks and i think has fruit flies!).
    Trying to search your site for info, so thought I’d ask: have you written any post(s) about how you do it personally? Links please? I’ve checked out the Cleanup.org.au link you mentioned here but it’s a little too generic.

    Many thanks!

    • (dt)em says

      Thanks Amy, you have inspired this Friday’s post on composting! But to answer your immediate problem: you need to bring some balance back to your compost bin as there are too many kitchen scraps, which are attracting the flies and making it stinky. Remember, the pests are attracted to the food scraps, not the compost itself.
      Try any or all of the following – turn your compost with a big garden fork; add a layer on top of shredded waste paper; add a layer of good-quality soil; add a layer of dry leaves or lawn clippings. Be sure to check out Friday’s post (August 30) x

  3. Bek @ Just For Daisy says

    Oooo! Thanks for this… I didn’t even think to put the crap off the floor in! Yay! And cardboard too… hmm.. does it take long to breakdown? I’m about to use most of my compost through our veggie beds to prepare them for Spring planting… so not sure I should add cardboard yet… I’m assuming this is not printed cardboard packaging? Just plain cardboard?
    Bek @ Just For Daisy recently posted..On my heart:: Whining and WeaningMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge