Can it be composted in your backyard?
Alyssa Eiklor, an environmental analyst at Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation, details that just about every animal and plant product can be turned into compost eventually. But some will require time to do so. Suppose you’re a home composter worried about attracting pests and rodents to your backyard. In that case, this is something you need to worry about. So while some of the things on this list are technically compostable, the novice composter would be better off leaving them out.
Fruit Vegetables Yard scraps Nuts & seeds Eggshells Coffee grounds
Meat & bones Processed foods Bioplastics Metal, glass, or plastic Medical waste & personal hygiene products Styrofoam
Paper towels: Paper towels that have been bleached white or came in contact with chemicals like cleaning products should not be composted. Natural, unbleached paper towels should be okay. Larger, dense food items: Good news for people who tend to forget what’s in their fridge: Mildewy or moldy food can still be composted. Dairy: Dairy products are technically compostable, but still, they’re one of those ingredients that can attract animals to your backyard. They break down a lot more slowly because a backyard pile won’t be as big so that it won’t get as hot as a large pile. So unless you’re an experienced composter, you might want to leave them out. Grains: This is a surprisingly controversial one. Sometimes you’ll see backyard composters avoid raw or cooked grains because they also take a while to break down and attract animals. As long as they’re mixed into your pile well, they should be okay. Oils and oil-soaked foods: “While you wouldn’t want to throw large amounts of oil or baking grease into a compost, small amounts will be fine,” says Eiklor. But if you have massive amounts of an animal far grease, that falls more into the meat and bones category and should be trashed or reused for cooking.
The bottom line.
Organic kitchen scraps currently consist of about 22% of U.S. landfills. They break down slowly and emit potent greenhouse gasses in the process. That’s 30.6 million tons of food waste a year that could have been converted back into usable organic material for farming and growing. Whether you compost your food scraps in a backyard or send them off to an industrial setup, you’re doing the planet a solid. Just be sure you’re not accidentally tossing anything that might contaminate your pile by reading up on essential compost do’s and don’ts.