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What to put in (and leave out) of your compost bin

Composting has formed the pillar of our brand for over 20 years now, so we like to think we know a thing or two about it. It’s often dubbed as an easy process of throwing brown and green kitchen and organic matter into a pile, and letting nature take its course in producing your rich, succulent compost for you. And it is, however, if you want the ultimate nourishment for your garden, it’s wise to know a little bit more about what to (and what not to) put in your compost bin or pile. Here, we take a deeper dive into the world of composting. 

Organic materials that can be composted 

Generally speaking, you’re able to compost anything made from organic material, but not all organic material is safe for home composting. We can assure you, the following materials are safe

  • Kitchen scraps (vegetable and fruit peelings, coffee grounds, eggshells)
  • Yard waste (leaves, grass clippings, twigs, branches)
  • Manure (from herbivorous animals such as cows, horses, rabbits, hamsters) 

What can (and cannot) be composted

Other materials that can be composted

Don’t stop there, the following materials can also make up key components for your compost pile, and can decompose to produce a healthy conditioner for your soil and garden: 

  • Paper products (newspapers, cardboards, paper towels)
  • Hair and animal fur
  • Fireplace ashes 

What can (and cannot) be composted

In terms of getting the balance right, we recommend aiming for between 25 and 50% soft green materials (e.g., grass clippings, fruit and vegetable food waste, annual weeds, and/or manure) to feed and enrich the microorganisms in the composting process. The remainder of the mixture should be made up of woody, brown materials (e.g., pruning, wood chippings, paper, cardboard, straw and/or dead leaves and small twigs). 

Don't worry about getting the ratio perfect, but getting it near enough correct is important to ensure the bacteria and micro-organisms that produce your compost can function in optimal conditions, creating the most nutrient-dense and high quality compost possible for you and your garden. 

Materials to avoid putting in your compost bin 

The following materials we definitely recommend not putting in your compost bin or pile: 

  • Meat, fat, dairy and bones
  • Diseased plants and weeds
  • Cat and/or dog feces
  • Synthetic materials (plastic/rubber)
  • Pesticides or chemicals 

The reason behind some of these is, for example, diseased plants and weeds will spread their diseases and viruses to other plants around your garden. Therefore, it’s best to burn or throw away such materials and not put them in your compost pile. 

Additionally, meat, fat (including butter and oil), dairy and bones can also carry the risk of spreading diseases too, and they pose as very attractive for unwanted animals and pests around your compost pie and garden. It’s also best to just throw these items in the trash as opposed to in your composter. 


So, there’s a quick EvenGreener pro guide to what you can (and cannot) put in your compost bin or pile. For a more comprehensive guide, sign up to receive our totally free Beginner’s Guide to Composting, covering everything from why you should start composting to benefit our planet and minimise food waste, to how you can choose the perfect composter to suit you and your garden. Kickstart your EvenGreener and shop our range of bestselling compost bins here – together we can make a difference.

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