Compostable Materials

The Greens and the Browns
A balance of carbon and nitrogen is critical for the success of your composting effort. An easy way to provide both of these is to remember that brown woody materials, such as autumn leaves, are high in carbon, while green moist materials, such as grass clippings, are high in nitrogen. For examples of this, see the following table: 

High Nitrogen "Green" Ingredients High Carbon "Brown" Ingredients
  • Grass clippings
  • Weeds (avoid those with seeds)
  • Food wastes: fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags, egg shells
  • Manure
  • Seaweed
  • Alfalfa hay / meal
  • Blood meal
  • Autumn leaves
  • Straw
  • Paper / cardboard: paper towels, napkins, bags, plates, coffee filters, tissue, newspaper
  • Cornstalks
  • Wood chips
  • Saw dust
  • Pine needles

Things to Avoid
To keep animals and odors out of your pile, do not add meat, fish, bones, and fatty food waste (e.g. milk products, peanut butter, grease, and oils).

To keep your compost weed, disease and toxin-free, avoid dog and cat litter/waste, charcoal briquettes, insect or disease ridden plants, plants with seeds, and weeds which spread by roots and runners.

Large or bulky organic items should be reduced to small pieces before adding them to your compost.