April 18, 2012

Five Surprising Household Products You Can Compost

Not your mother's trash pile.
items you can compost
Want to save money and create a thriving landscape, all while reducing your emissions footprint? Composting, the recycling of your organic trash through decomposition, is not only one of the easiest ways to reduce what you are sending to the landfill, but also a method of creating your own fertilizer.

Compost Beyond the Kitchen and the Yard
According to the EPA, up to 30 percent of our household trash is compostable. This figure is based on commonly composted materials like fruit and vegetable matter, coffee grounds, egg shells and yard waste. What many people don’t know is that it’s possible to compost a variety of household items, which will further save space in the landfill. Composting isn’t just for greenies anymore—it’s for anyone who wants to live a frugal, simple life. Just think of all the trash bags you’ll save! Here is a list of five strange household items that you can add to your compost pile:

1. Old Clothing

What do you do with the cotton sock that lost its partner, the silk tie that’s become threadbare or the leather wallet that’s no longer functional? Throw it onto the pile! Leather, cotton, wool, silk, hemp and any other clothing made from organic materials or natural fibers can be composted. Shredding larger items will aid the decomposition process. You will finally have a place to recycle the doll-sized sweater that you shrunk in the dryer. By the way, you can also compost dryer lint.

2. Urine

This one sounds yucky, but it works. Just remember, a compost pile should be kept moist, not sopping wet. No human excrement should be composted; however, vegan poop is supposedly ok. Potty training parents can empty their children’s pee buckets in the backyard, and if you are busy working in your yard when nature calls, you can try this one out for yourself.

3. Used Q-Tips and Cotton Balls

Another source of compost gold from the bathroom is used Q-tips and cotton balls. The Q-tips need to be 100% cotton, with a cardboard stick. When you’re in the bathroom, you might want to gather up any used Kleenex, toilet paper tubes or cardboard tampon applicators—all compostable products.

4. Full Vacuum Cleaner Bags

Paper vacuum bags and their contents are fully compostable. Sturdy vacuum bags may need to be shredded before they are added to the pile. Anything you have vacuumed up that is not dust or dirt related, like pennies or the odd earring, will not, obviously, compost.

5. Hair and Fur

Whether you are a pet owner, or a dog groomer, you can add any type of animal fur to your compost pile. People hair works, too. From hairbrush pickings to whiskers, it can all be composted.

The Compost Challenge

Once you try composting, it can become a strange addiction. Finding new items to compost is a fun, and environmentally-friendly challenge. Check out your composting knowledge with this composting quiz from the Discovery Channel.
If you are a new composter, and would like to get started today, try the EPA’s guide to composting.

Additional Resources:

This post is linked to Sorta Crunchy for Your Green Resource.

About the Author

Alexis is a stay at home mom, devoted recycler and freelance writer. She loves to write on mom and baby related topics including tips for how to get pregnant fast and environmentally friendly ideas for new moms.


Phil Goold is a retired landscaper of 30 years. He loves being outside more than anything else, except maybe pie. He enjoys connecting with other landscapers and gardeners because everyone brings something new and fun to the table. Connect with Phil on Twitter and Google+.

No comments:

Post a Comment