Top reasons why you’re avoiding composting & how to get over that crap

Top reasons why you’re avoiding composting & how to get over that crap


Related Topics:
Food, Green Living, How-To Guides, Public Health, Recycling & Upcycling

Composting can be a daunting task that many people are unsure about including in their lifestyle. According to an online survey of 2,000 adults by Harris Interactive and the National Waste & Recycling Association, 72% of Americans do not compost their food waste. Below are some common reasons why people choose not compost and some ways to get over that crap in order to help the world be a healthier and more sustainable place.

1. “I don’t see why composting matters”

While composting may not sound impactful, individual action in composting can prove to be highly beneficial for the environment and the economy. Below, we’ve gone ahead and explained exactly what impact food waste has:

Why composting matters graphic


2. “I don’t know what can and can’t be composted”

Many people do not compost because they aren’t sure what can and can’t be composted, so below we’ve set the record straight with an easy visual you can print out and keep on your fridge as a reminder as well as a detailed list based off the information provided Small Footprint Family. A mix of quick and slow composting items generally creates healthy compost.

Composting basics graphic

Items that Compost Quickly

  •   Fruit and vegetable scraps
  •   Coffee grounds
  •   Loose leaf tea
  •   Spoiled soy/rice/almond/coconut milk
  •   Cooked pasta
  •   Cooked rice
  •   Pasta sauce/tomato paste
  •   Seaweed/kelp
  •   Tofu

Items that Compost Slowly

  • Nut shells (other than walnut)
  • Old herbs/spices
  • Unpopped, burnt popcorn kernels
  • Stale candy
  • Lint, hair, and fur
  • Stale seeds (chopped so they don’t sprout)
  • Wine corks (chopped up)
  • Stale nuts (no walnuts)
  • Old jam/preserves
  • Avocado pits
  • Newspapers (shredded)
  • Leaves
  • Items made of 100% cotton or wool
  • Flowers
  • Grass clippings (no fertilizer/pesticides used)
  • Used matches
  • Woodchips

Items that Shouldn’t Be Added to Compost

  • Weeds (may end up spreading the weeds)
  • Produce stickers (peel them off produce)
  • Meat/Fish
  • Products with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers
  • Meat/Fish bones
  • Walnuts (toxic to many plants)
  • Fats, grease, lard, oil
  • Coal or charcoal ash (toxic to many plants)


3. “I don’t know how” or “It’s too inconvenient”

It’s easy to write off something and not act when you aren’t informed. You’ve heard the saying “ignorance is bliss” but now that you know the importance of composting and how easy it is determine what can and can’t be composted, learning how to compost for your lifestyle is a must! We’ve provided a simple guide outlining the different ways to compost suiting your needs:

What type of compost suits you? graphic


4. “I’m not sure of the relevant rules/laws”

Another impediment to composting could be worrying about the relevant rules or laws, however most states encourage composting and have set up programs to encourage composting in easy ways. The law is an important area to understand and get right, especially if you’re interested in outdoor composting. Composting Council provides a list of some of the relevant laws for most states and jurisdictions. Generally, the main area of concern is for backyard composting where you just need to be sure you are composting in a manner that is not hazardous to human health or unsafe and that you acquire permits if necessary:

Compost laws graphic

There are so many reasons why composting is important, including decreasing food waste, creating jobs, and reducing pollution. Determining what can and can’t be composted is simple, following the guidelines above. Figuring out what method of composting fits your needs and learning how to perform that method is also fairly easy. Composting can be convenient and being informed of the relevant laws is important. Now you have the information you need to be empowered and go out and compost!

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