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WHAT TO AVOID WHEN MAKING COMPOST Author: Andrea Bothma Compost can be made from more things found in your house than you realise! By composting, you'll reduce the trash you have to take out weekly and it's good for the environment, too. But even though technically you can compost almost anything that was once living, some things are better left out of the pile for better compost and less hassle.
1. Dog and Cat Poop It's great to compost horse, cow, chicken, and rabbit droppings; adding them to your soil will boost its nutritional content and organic matter. You shouldn't compost dog and cat poop (or that from other carnivores), however. Microorganisms and parasites are often found in waste, and you don't want them introduced to your crops.
2. Tea and Coffee Bags Compost piles are the perfect place for coffee grounds and tea leaves. Their nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content is high, which is essential to plants. The compost should not contain any bagged coffee grounds or tea leaves. Unless you are sure the teabags or coffee bags are made from natural materials, such as cotton or hemp, do not compost them. 3. Citrus Peels and Onions In a home compost pile, fruit and vegetable scraps are the main ingredients, but citrus peel and onions are not recommended. Sadly, citrus peels and onions contain natural chemicals and acidity that can kill worms and other microbes, which can delay decomposition.
4. Fish and Meat Scraps Fish and meat scraps will technically decompose just fine, but you shouldn't add them to your compost pile. Your garden will benefit from organic fish and meat, but unfortunately, their smell will attract rats, mice, and cats who will raid your compost to feed on the nutrients.
You and your neighbours might also be bothered by the rotting meat and fish smell.
5. Glossy or Coated Paper Newspapers with soy ink, old paper towels, tissues, and even shredded cardboard are all potential compost materials. In contrast, paper coated with a plastic-like coating, like magazines, won't decompose properly, contain toxins, and should not be composted. 6. Sticky Labels on Fruits and Vegetables Fruit and vegetable price tags and sticky labels are made of "food-grade" plastic or vinyl and do not biodegrade. It's also easy to miss them, so your compost piles can be littered. Before composting fruit and vegetable scraps, remove the stickers.
7. Coal Fire Ash Compost piles should not be filled with ash from coal or charcoal-briquet fires, as they contain too much sulphur, causing excessive acidity in the soil and harming plants.
8. Sawdust from Treated Wood Adding untreated, natural wood sawdust to compost can be a fantastic addition, but never add sawdust to compost if the wood has been pressure-treated, varnished, stained, or painted.
9. Dairy products It's the same reason we should avoid dairy products, such as cheese, butter, milk, yoghurt, and sour cream; they attract unwanted visitors. Also, avoid processed foods with a lot of fat or dairy.