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Compost Materials Chart

 

See the E.R.Composter in action!

 

Type f Material

Use it?

Carbon/Nitrogen

Details

Algae, seaweed and lake moss

Yes

N

Good nutrient source.

Ashes from coal or charcoal

No

n/a

May contain materials bad for plants.

Ashes from untreated, unpainted wood

Careful

Neutral

Fine amounts at most. Can make the pile too alkaline and suppress composting.

Beverages, kitchen rinse water

Yes

Neutral

Good to moisten the middle of the pile. Don't over-moisten the pile.

Bird droppings

Careful

N

May contain weed seeds or disease organisms.

Cardboard

Yes

C

Shred into small pieces if you use it. Wetting it makes it easier to tear. If you have a lot, consider recycling instead.

Cat droppings or cat litter

No

n/a

May contain disease organisms. Avoid.

Coffee ground and filters

Yes

N

Worms love coffee grounds and coffee filters.

Compost activator

Not required, but ok.

Neutral

You don't really need it, but it doesn't hurt.

Cornstalks, corn cobs

Yes

C

Best if shredded and mixed well with nitrogen rich materials.

Diseased plants

Careful

N

If your pile doesn't get hot enough, it might not kill the organisms, so be careful. Let it cure several months, and don't use resulting compost near the type of plant that was diseased.

Dog droppings

No

n/a

Avoid.

Dryer lint

Yes

C

Compost away! Moistening helps.

Eggshells

Yes

O

Break down slowly. Crushing shells helps.

Fish scraps

No

n/a

Can attract rodents and cause a stinky pile.

Hair

Yes

N

Scatter so it isn't in clumps.

Lime

No

n/a

Can kill composting action. Avoid.

Manure (horse, cow, pig, sheep, goat, chicken, rabbit)

Yes

N

Great source of nitrogen. Mix with carbon rich materials so it breaks down better.

Meat, fat, grease, oils, bones

No

n/a

Avoid.

Milk, cheese, yogurt

Careful

Neutral

Put it deep in the pile to avoid attracting animals.

Newspaper

Yes

C

Shred it so it breaks down easier. It is easy to add too much newspaper, so recycle instead if you have a lot. Don't add slick colored pages.

Oak leaves

Yes

C

Shredding leaves helps them break down faster. They decompose slowly. Acidic.

Sawdust and wood shavings (untreated wood)

Yes

C

You'll need a lot of nitrogen materials to make up for the high carbon content. Don't use too much, and don't use treated woods.

Pine needles and cones

Yes

C

Don't overload the pile. Also acidic and decomposes slowly.

Weeds

Careful

N

Dry them out on the pavement, then add later.

Sod

Careful

N

Make sure the pile is hot enough, so grass doesn't continue growing.

 
 

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