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10 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Compost

As more people aim to lessen their carbon footprint, there's been a quest to learn about all the things you can upcycle, recycle, and compost. And you may be surprised to learn some of the things you can add to your compost bin.

Wool fabric have been eaten by the mothcoco312/Shutterstock

Natural-fiber clothes

If you have natural-fiber clothing—pure wool, cotton, silk, or linen—that is too old or damaged to donate, then cut it up in chunks so it breaks down faster and add it to your compost pile! If you do compost clothes, be sure that there are no synthetic threads, plastic buttons, metal zippers, or stains from motor oil, paint, wood stain, and other non-compostable substances. If your city collects your compost, be sure to double-check if clothes are an acceptable component. It’s probably a better alternative to donating your clothes, since this is what really happens to the clothes you donate.

Colorful balloon before charge airzhuda/Shutterstock

Latex products

The next time you’re cleaning up after a child’s birthday party, throw the popped latex balloon fragments in the compost. Latex is a natural and biodegradable material, but for some reason, most of us usually forget that! Other natural latex products? Compost them next time instead of throwing them in the trash. New to composting? Here’s how to build your own outdoor bin.

Set of white scotch tapes on gray background. Torn horizontal and different size white sticky tape, adhesive pieces.OoddySmile Studio/Shutterstock

White glue and masking tape

Arts and crafts enthusiasts, rejoice! Your traditional Elmer’s glue and masking tape bits and scraps can all be composted. It makes cleaning up projects just a little bit better knowing it’s not all going in the trash. Keep your trash even emptier by removing these 11 things you didn’t realize you could recycle or upcycle, too.

Texture of wine corksNik Merkulov/Shutterstock

Wine corks

The next time you’re recycling your wine bottles, throw their corks into the compost pile. Corks are a natural product, and although some wineries are now using plastic corks that look a lot like the real thing, remember that you can compost the wine stoppers if they are made of natural cork.

Macro Dog HairKathie Nichols/Shutterstock

Fur, hair, and nail clippings

If you have a pet pup or cat that sheds more than you like, hopefully you can find at least some solace in the fact that you can compost their fur! You can also clean out your and your family’s hair brushes and add all nail clippings to the compost heap. It may be a little gross but your compost will be happy about it. Be sure you get one of these 10 amazing compost products for your backyard.

close up of a pile of empty cardboard toilet paper rollsMaria Dryfhout/Shutterstock

Small paper rolls

While you can always recycle cardboard products, consider throwing the smaller stuff in your compost bin next time. Recycling can be costly and also uses a lot of resources, so compost smaller cardboard instead.

Full- frame close up of dried round brown pet kibbles food seen from a high angle viewMirasWonderland/Shutterstock

Old pet food

If you have some stale kibble on the shelf, just throw it in the compost bin. Be sure your pup can’t smell it though, because chances are if they smell it, they’re going to try to eat it.

dirt from vacuum cleaner filterGabor Tinz/Shutterstock

Vacuum bag contents

Typically, the stuff your vacuum picks up is composed of compostable materials: dust, hair, dirt, etc. In some cases, even the vacuum bag itself can be composted if it’s made from natural products (be sure to check the bag to see what it’s made of). If you have a bagless vacuum, the contents of the dirt collection cup can be dumped directly into your compost pile. So, unless you’re vacuuming up after a glittery birthday party, your vacuum dirt should be okay to compost.

An abstract image of fluffy cotton balls and cotton swabs.Pam Walker/Shutterstock

Cotton swabs and balls

Consider adding a tiny compost trash bin to your bathroom so you can collect all the compostable bathroom garbage. As long as the cotton swabs you’re using are plastic-free, you can add those to the bin along with cotton balls and toilet paper rolls. Just be sure that the dental floss doesn’t get in there. Have a goal of zero waste? Here’s what that really means.

Natural loofah sponge texture. Close-up.Ollie-s/Shutterstock

Used loofahs and sponges

If you’re already using a natural loofah, then remember that you can tear that thing up and compost it the next time you’re ready to replace it. If you’re currently using synthetic sponges, consider making the switch to a natural one. Man-made sponges can carry germs and add a ton of waste to the environment if you’re going through them regularly. If composting seems daunting, check out these 10 simple steps that can help you get started with composting.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman

Hannah Louise
I help people tell stories, whether that's about themselves, their company, or their product. Every project I take on has one priority: make sure the audience connects with the content. I've fine-tuned this skill over the past decade by creating content for audiences from C-suites to new hires in organizations large and small. I launched my career as a generational keynote speaker (think dispelling myths about Millennials/Xers/Boomers) and worked my way to being a principal of a consulting firm and published author by writing, presenting, and editing books, blogs, white papers, and research analysis. I bring my values of collaboration, humility, and research-driven strategies to everything I do. I'm also a cat owner, coffee enthusiast, and new home owner (you know, your stereotypical Millennial traits.)