TIPS FROM THE EXPERT: Compost Ideas for a Sustainable Ventura

By Christine Wied

You know about the garden plants, grass and food scraps for your compost bin but here are a few other items  you may not have thought of that can be added to that working pile.

  • From your office add those wood pencil shavings.
  • Paper that has masking tape attached may not be appropriate for the recycling bin but it can be composted. Shredded paper is also a good carbon source especially in the summer to balance out all that fresh grass and food waste in your compost bin.
  • Is your Loofah in the bath looking a bit shabby? Add it to your compost pile. Most are made from natural vegetable sponges.
  • Other items from the bathroom, paper and cotton swabs are compostable. Paper towels unless they have been used with toxic cleaners. Facial tissues as long as you don’t have a cold, are compostable.
  • Is your pet shedding?  Sweep up the fur and add it to your compost bin.
  • If your dog doesn’t like that last dry food you tried or it gets spilled all over the floor, it too can go into the compost pile. Also compostable are stale catnip and unwanted rawhide dog chews. Be sure to bury these well so as not to attract other critters to your pile.
  • Old organic cotton towels, dish cloths, socks or hemp clothing that isn’t in good enough shape to donate for reuse can be composted. Wash first in a non-toxic detergent. Cut larger items into smaller pieces.
  • Did that African violet or other houseplant on your desk or window sill finally give up the ghost? Add it to the compost pile for a little more carbon.
  • A little leftover beer in a bottle or can from your summer party? Pour it into your compost bin. Not only is the beer an especially good source of nitrogen, the yeast provides food for the little microbes working in your bin. If you brew your own beer, most of the waste from that process is compostable.
  • Leftover wine can also be added to the pile.

Turn over an old leaf, compost!

“Get Your Green On” article for Open Line,  August 15, 2012

Contact: Christine Wied,

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