What can and can't be composted?

What can and can't be composted?

As composting is becoming more commonplace, both industrially and at home, we wanted to share some general rules about what can and can’t be composted.

Composting is a big part of what drives Sun and Swell Foods as we strive to make sure everything from our products to our packaging is 100% compostable. Composting is becoming more accessible and we are excited to see more food waste be composted instead of sent to landfill, a big mitigation strategy for climate abatement. 

Here is a Tik Tok you can share with your friends quickly listing what can and can't be composted, but if you want a more in depth look at some more items that you're unsure where they belong, keep reading!

Compost It

1. Fruits and Veggies

Peels from fruits and vegetables that you eat should definitely end up in your composting bin! They are one of the simplest ways to start your composting journey and account for a lot of food waste all over the world. 

2. Coffee Grounds and Tea Leaves

Let’s be honest, we all need that morning cup of coffee sometimes, but it leaves a mess, especially when making it from straight coffee grounds. To avoid used coffee grounds or tea leaves taking up space in your home and the landfill, put them in the composting bin. 

3. Yard waste/trimmings

There are so many leaves, stems, etc. that end up going in the wrong bins (like recycling) because people know they're natural but don’t know where to put them. Composting to the rescue!

4. Nuts and seeds

This goes along with the extra  fruit and veggies but don’t let those nut or seed shells go to waste! Create soil for your garden and harvest even more goods for your granola. 

5. Paper products

Paper, paper cups, paper bags, and even notebook paper with soy-based ink can all be composted as long as they don’t have any plastic on them! Instead of recycling, try this instead! 

6. Sun & Swell Compostable Bags!

You heard that right. Any of the products your order from Sun & Swell are packaged in compostable bags (except our select items in reusable glass jars!). That means you can turn those bags back into soil. Hello circular economy.

Other things you can compost!

  • Grass clippings
  • Houseplants
  • Hay and straw
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Cotton and Wool Rags
  • Hair and fur
  • Fireplace ashes
  • Nail clippings
  • Bread & grains

Trash It

1. Plastic Food Wrappers

Plastic sticks around for hundreds of years and can not be composted. Plastics contain endocrine disrupting substances like phthalates and BPA so we suggest skipping the plastic all together. Try buying nuts, dried fruits, energy bites, or spices in plastic-free compostable packaging. 

2.Tea Bags

This is not to be confused with tea leaves. Most tea or coffee bags contain plastics or other synthetic materials that cannot be broken down in a compost. Many tea bags can't be composted because they contain microplastics, but some tea bags can be composted. Check out Oteas tea bags - no plastic, totally compostable!

3. Fish and Meat Scraps

Although this accounts for a large amount of household food waste, fish, seafood, or meat scraps should not be placed in the pile because they will harm the potential of the fruit and veggies to be broken down. They will also definitely attract raccoons or squirrels to take over your bin! 

4. Glossy Paper

Glossy paper or paper treated with dyes and inks that are synthetic should not end up in your bin. 

5. Fruit and Veggie Stickers

These are made from plastic after all! I’m sure you know but plastic takes hundreds of years to biodegrade and leaving these stickers on the peels of your apples you throw in the bin will contaminate your soil!

6. Synthetic Fertilizers

Many times, people will think it’s okay to put fertilizer in your compost because it's just adding soil to new soil, right? Wrong! Synthetic fertilizers contain things like heavy metals, or inorganic compounds that can actually affect your microorganisms’ health. This only leads to negative impacts for your garden. 

Other don'ts for your home compost:

  • Coal or charcoal ash
    - Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*
    - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
    - Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils*
    - Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*
    - Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans

These are just a few of the common mistakes made in composting. Always remember to check if you are unsure of what can/can’t be broken down to make sure you are on the path to great soil.

Check out our TikTok page for more fun information on how to go zero-waste and help the environment with these small but impactful actions.

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