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What Not To Put In A Compost Tumbler: 9 Things

What can and cannot be composted?

If this is the question on your lips, you’re a step away from finding out what not to put into a compost tumbler you’re using to prepare compost for your garden.

In this article, you’ll find

  1. A list of things that you shouldn’t put in your compost tumbler.
  2. Answers to questions regarding what can and cannot be composted.

Before we provide answers to the questions above, let’s take a look at the things we shouldn’t add in our compost tumblers.


What Not To Compost


Here’s a quick peek summary…

  1. Non-biodegradable materials
  2. Dairy products
  3. Glossy/coated papers with much ink.
  4. Tea or coffee bags
  5. Disease-infested plants
  6. Scraps from meat, fish, egg, and poultry
  7. Baked products.
  8. Dog or cat poop
  9. Pesticide-treated grass.

1. Non-Biodegradable Materials

Top on our list of things you shouldn’t put into a compost tumbler/bin is non-biodegradable materials. As you already know, these materials can never break down. And since they can’t break down, they won’t add anything to the compost but will rather take up space.

2. Dairy Products

It’s not advisable to add dairy products to your compost tumbler. This stems primarily from the fact that they can attract pests and can also lead to odor problems. If you must add dairy products, they must be very little compared to the size of the other items you’re adding.

3. Glossy/Coated Papers

Just because you heard some people say that you can compost papers doesn’t mean it applies to all paper types. Coated or glossy paper, in this case, refers to the type used for magazines.

These types have quite a great deal of ink on it and are often coated with plastic derivatives that make it hard for them to break down.

Adding them to your compost tumbler will increase the size of your compost but it will never break down.

4. Tea/Coffee Bags

Just because a compost tumbler/compost heap contains a lot of “rubbish” doesn’t mean it needs all the available rubbish. A used tea or coffee bag isn’t doesn’t have a place in a compost tumbler.

Tea/coffee bags are made from synthetic fiber materials that are difficult to break down. This leaves you with a non-valuable item in your compost.

On the other hand, tea and coffee leaves can be added to the compost – as long as they are not in a bag.

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5. Infested or Diseased Plants

When you remove infested plants from your garden, the first thought that will probably come to your mind is to use it for compost. This is such a bad idea.

Diseased plants are pest carriers – after all, the pests caused the diseases in the first place.

Adding them to the compost makes the compost a possible breeding ground for the pest. When you add the compost to the garden, there’s an increased likelihood that the pest will attack the plants in the garden again.

6. Meat/Poultry/Fish/Egg scraps

We answered questions pertaining to in the FAQ section of this article. But to cut the long story short, add scraps of the aforementioned materials can cause odor problems and induce pest infestation.

7. Baked Products

Generally, baked products can attract pests to your compost tumbler/pile. If you are composting in a pile, you shouldn’t dump just any baked product on your compost heap.

Bury it deep into the compost and make sure it’s covered up properly.

8. Dog/Cat Poop

You can compost the fecal matter of goats, chicken, cows, etc. – as long as they are vegetarian animals and you won’t have problems. But you should make sure your compost is devoid of poop from your pets at home.

In essence, no dog poop and no cat poop. Even human feces isn’t allowed in the compost. It’s totally unhygienic and will breed flies which could lead to infections.

9. Pesticide-treated grass

Putting pesticide-treated grass into your compost can add unwanted chemicals to the compost. Smells may become more pronounced plus the production of unwanted substances will take place in the compost tumbler.

My take – dispose of your pesticide-treated plants elsewhere other than adding it into your compost.


Final Words

There is a long list of things that you should not add to your compost. I’ll update this list when I’ve listed as many as possible from different gardeners.

Img – RattanDirect

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