4 surprising household items you can compost

October 13, 2015

Composting is a great way to reduce household waste and help save the Earth. Why? It's easy to do and most homeowners already know they can recycle food scraps into compost. But did you know there are four common household items that you're probably throwing away nearly every day that can also be turned into compost? Curious? Check out the list below.

4 surprising household items you can compost

1. Sawdust

Sawdust can accumulate in your house for plenty of different reasons: maybe you've taken on a home renovation project, perhaps you were cleaning up the woodpile in the backyard and tracked it into the mudroom, or it could be that your hobby is working with wood.

  • No matter why you have sawdust in your home, you can use it in your compost. The only caution? As long as the sawdust is free of chemicals and paint, it is safe and healthy to add to your compost bin.

It's best to keep a compost bin at a ratio of four parts brown (e.g., dry goods) organic matter to one part green (e.g., old food) organic matter, so sawdust can help bump up that brown quotient.

2. Wine corks

Love drinking wine? If so, there's a good chance you've thrown away a ton of wine corks or simply still have them lying around in your home.

  • If you do have a collection of old wine corks, toss them in the compost bin, but not any old corks: only corks that are made from natural cork material are compostable. The synthetic ones are not!

How can you tell "real" corks from "fake" ones?

  • Corks made from real cork material feel soft and look wooden, with little holes visible on their surface. Real corks are made from the bark of the cork tree.
  • Synthetic corks feel rubbery and look like plastic.

3. Pet hair

Yes, pet hair. You probably brush Fido (or Fluffy) at least once a week but don't throw out that pet hair! Believe it or not, fur from dogs and cats is compostable and it should be added to the compost bin.

  • You can pick balls of fur up from the floors, as well as pull it from pets' brushes and combs. Instead of tossing it into the garbage, have a container to collect the fur which you regularly empty into the compost bin.
  • While you're at it go ahead and add your own hair, too. Human hair is also compostable and it's a better option than clogging the shower drain.

4. Coffee Filters

Coffee filters are completely compostable, which means that if you make coffee at home and use paper filters, you have an extra item to add to the compost.

  • Simply use the coffee filter to make coffee and then toss it in the compost bin when you're done. You can even leave the coffee grounds in it.

One of the coolest parts about coffee is that it's a completely sustainable, waste-free drink.

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