What Not to Put In Compost Pile

Looking for advice on starting a compost? Here are some tips from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own advice here.

Avoid Meat


Most people avoid meat and meat by-products because of the smell and the tendencies to attract flies which do nothing to help the compost process. My gardener neighbor avoids houseplants because they often contain anti-fungal treatments in the topsoil and he uses the compost to grow vegetables.

If you are using a hard plastic wading pool, I suggest putting a few holes in the bottom for drainage and regularly turning it over to aerate and accelerate the process of decomposition.

By Stannous

No Grease

Avoid putting grease in your compost.

By Sally Em

Don't Compost Salty Cooked Foods And Animal Waste

I tend to not put salty foods into my compost. (anything that I cooked like casseroles, or pasta, or meat that has been seasoned with salt). We have a real problem with bears, too. In my compost pit, I tend to bury the freshest additions to make sure that no critters make off with any of it. Also, some people say animal waste is a big no-no, like cat or dog poo, although I have a neighbor that dumps her cat's entire litter box in, clay litter and all. I'll just say I'm glad I'm not downwind. That seems like a little much in my opinion.


By Beth - MA

Only Plant Vegetation

Put in your compost any plant vegetation matter. Do NOT put in any animal products such as meat, eggs or even pasta, for that matter. I put tea bags, banana peels, apple cores, any leftover raw veggies and leaves, leftover fruit, tree leaves and grass in my compost. Keep it damp but not wet and have your compost pile a distance from your house.

By Dean

NYC Composting Website

New York City has a compost site , http://www.nyccompost.org, click on "How to Compost" and you'll get the complete guide Anna, NYC

By aw_$mgr96

Great Dos And Don'ts

Avoid cigarette butts, nothing good in them. I would avoid pet poop too. Although my friend who is a wonderful gardener goes to the circus in town and brings home elephant or zebra poop for her compost (I won't EVER ride in her car again!) That is quite a smell!


Happy composing! Gardeners refer to the results of composing as "Black Gold" it is a wonderful, rich soil full of good things.

Don't forget to add your coffee grounds and egg shells too. Some folks bake the shells first but I don't. I'm not growing food either, I use my compost for my flowers.

By nancycorinne

Aeration And Other Tips

Do not put any cooked food, meat carcasses, etc., citrus or onion, or grease. Make sure it is aerated by turning regularly. Keep it covered to retain heat, to help it break down quickly. You might find the addition of drainage holes a good idea, rather than a contained bottom. Activators accelerate breakdown. You can use urine for this, and red garden worms. You need a 50/50 mix of greens and browns i.e. kitchen veg waste, and garden woodier clippings and cuttings. In the winter time you can layer cardboard or newspaper in place of garden browns.

By Joanna

Watch Out For Pests

My dad has composted for years. Be on the look out for unwanted pests such as rats! He lives in a subdivision but has rats so he sets out poison and lives traps (and then has to transport the rodents to the woods, yuck!)

By Diana

No Protein

I wouldn't put any protein in it, i.e. meat, cheese, eggs (eggshells are OK), etc. This despite that old story about native Indians using fish as fertilizer. Also no petroleum-based products, like "soft" plastic or rubber, no metals or chemicals. I'd be wary of lawn clippings if the lawn was recently chemically treated. You don't want that stuff to leach into your compost. Most paper is OK because inks these days are often soy-based.

By Jantoo

Look For Volunteer Plants Come Springtime

Everyone is right about what not to put in your compost pile. I would like to add a word about an unexpected bonus come spring. If you throw any leavings from say, for instance pumpkin (pulp and seeds), sometimes these seeds will germinate in the spring and you can transfer it out to your garden space. I got two current tomatoes from my compost heap this past spring.

By Dawn

Kiddie Pool Is Not Best Composting Option

Can you possibly use something other than a kiddies pool. They're not very deep and will not build up much heat to break the material down. Also composting works best when worms and beneficial insects access the material to help break it down, so you make holes to allow them in, it may take much longer to decompose.

By susanmajp


Wood ashes.

By Kay


October 18, 20070 found this helpful

If you have Black Walnut trees -you should not compost those leaves unless you can let them sit at least a few weeks before you plan to use the compost -also don't compost any leaves from trees that look diseased as you can spread the disease further to your other plants. If you do have Black Walnut trees in your yard or neighborhood, plan on a closed compost tumbler rather than an open pile.

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In This Article
Woman using a composter
Composting Tips and Tricks
Home and Garden Gardening CompostingOctober 18, 2007
Compost bin full of vegetable waste from a kitchen.
Removing Odors From a Compost Bin
Keeping Pests Out of Your Compost Pile
Keeping Pests Out of Your Compost Pile
Composting Indoors
Composting Indoors
Compost Pile
Starting a Compost Pile
Halloween Ideas!
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