What Can You Put in a Compost Bin?

Author: Chef Sydney

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What Kinds of Materials Can You Put in a Compost Bin?

There are a variety of materials you can place in a compost bin.  In general, most plant-based materials can go in a compost bin.  These materials are broken up into two groups: green materials and brown materials. 

Different Types of Materials You Can Put in a Compost Bin

  • Green Materials
  • Brown Materials

Green Materials

Green materials are wet, plant-based materials.  Fruit and vegetable scraps, like banana peels, bell pepper or potato scraps, and apple cores, are commonly used as green materials.  Grass clippings, plant clippings, and pulled weeds, as long as they have not seeded, are also great materials.  Coffee grounds and loose leaf tea are frequently used in compost bins, but make sure they do not contain the filter or bag.

Learn About What You Can Put In A Compost Bin
Peeled vegetables on chopping board, white compost bin on wooden background. Top view of kitchen food waste collected in recycling compost pot

Brown Materials

Brown materials are dry, plant-based materials.  Common brown materials to use in a compost bin include dried leaves, wood or bark chips, and twigs or branches.  Some kinds of paper, like coffee filters and newspapers, can go in the compost bin.  Hay and straw are also common brown materials used in compost bins.  Additional brown materials include broken down pizza boxes, broken down toilet paper rolls, and brown paper bags.

What Can’t You Put in a Compost Bin?

There are a variety of things that should not go in a compost bin because they may not break down correctly, could attract pests, or may cause your compost bin to smell.  Meats, bones, or grease should never be put in a compost bin.  Other materials to avoid putting in the compost bin include oils, fats, and dairy products.  When adding fruit or vegetable scraps or peels, make sure that the label or sticker is removed because it cannot break down.  

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