Most people know you can compost your kitchen scraps, but don't limit yourself to carrots ends and mushy apples. Almost anything made of organic matter can be composted. Here's a list of surprising things you can be putting in your compost to reduce your household waste:
Paper and cardboard If it's not glossy, paper can be composted. This is a great way to get rid of old taxes and other papers. Tearing it up first makes it break down faster. Cardboard is great in the garden to suppress weeds, but you can also compost it to make new soil
Tea bags and coffee grounds (plus paper coffee filters, if you still use them) While I'm all about the loose leaf tea and french press coffee, not everyone has jumped on that boat yet. Composting is a great alternative to the trash.
Used paper towels and paper napkins We highly suggest switching to fabric rags and napkins, but in case some come home with you from a party or take out place.
Bamboo, ceramic, or wood utensils, tools, or vessels If it came from nature, it can return to nature. Spoons, bowls, toothbrushes, hair brushes, etc can all be composted if they are made from natural materials. Think about what your products are made of when you buy them and when you eventually dispose of them.
Human hair and pet fur We do haircuts in house here to save money, so we end up with a lot of hair, but even the hair from your brush and shower drain can be composted.
Used tissues and toilet paper Yup, I said it! While most people don't have a composting toilet yet, you can still compost the tissue paper itself.
Pet Bedding When you clean out your bird or hamster cage or empty out your chicken coop, throw the bedding and the poop into the compost
Sawdust, bark, and other wood products Anything made from natural wood is compostable. Sweep up your shop floor right into the bin!
Fireplace and Tobacco ashes Ashes from the fireplace make great compost and I'm not promoting smoking, but if you're going to do it please dispose of the ashes properly.
Paper bags Of course fabric bags are better, but paper bags happen sometimes. Reuse bags when you can, but once they're ripped, compost them.
Wool, leather, silk, and organic fabrics Any natural fibers can and should be composted. Ripping them up helps them break down faster. If you have other fabrics to dispose of, try this.
Natural Soap When your bar is too small to use properly, you can compost it.
Cotton balls and q-tips While I prefer the zero waste alternatives, these guys can be composted too.
Expired pantry and fridge items When you clean out your pantry, compost anything long past its date... it's already on it's way to being soil.
Books Non-glossy books that are beyond donating can be composted too. Think about it as giving those old favorites new life.
To learn more about composting and other ways to reduce your household and business waste, visit our Trash/Recycle/Compost Page.
Stay Green, New Hampshire!