Hands in compostThe Nitty-Gritty of Garden Composting: 5 foods you should never compost at home

Composting is the practice that turns kitchen scraps into rich, nutritious soil for the garden. The compost, known as “black gold,” revitalizes soil and nurtures plants without harmful chemical additives. However, not all edibles are equal when it comes to composting, and understanding the good, the bad, and the smelly can lead to a robust composting process and a more fruitful garden. This guide will take you through five foods that might seem benign but should never make their way into your garden compost bin. Instead pop them in your Greyhound Recycling, brown compost bin.

1. The Slippery Slope of Oils and Fats

Pouring cooking oils, salad dressings, and even the greasy remnants of last night’s takeout into your compost can create a sticky situation. Oils and fats don’t decompose the way plant matter does. Instead, they can form a seal over the compost pile, which restricts airflow. This can lead to a smelly, anaerobic compost, attracting pests and potentially causing a mucky mess that’s a nightmare to turn and work with. The same goes for dairy products—they’ll smell foul and can attract unwanted pests.

2. The Bony Issue

While bones are indeed organic, they’re another solid “no” for most backyard composters. Bones decompose very slowly (we’re talking years) due to their dense nature, which can throw off the balance of your compost heap. Additionally, they can attract all kinds of critters that you’d rather not have lurking around your garden.

3. The Fishy Factor

Fish and seafood can be extremely beneficial when used as a fertilizer due to their high nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium content. However, when it comes to backyard composting, their strong odour is a red flag. The smell of decomposing fish parts can be more than a little off-putting; it can attract a wide range of scavengers, from foxes to rats.

4. The Saucy Concern

Sauces, whether homemade or store-bought, might seem innocuous, but their high moisture content can create a soggy situation in your compost. This can contribute to a lack of aeration and promote the growth of harmful bacteria. Additionally, many sauces that are acidic or sugary, such as ketchup or barbecue sauce, can throw off the pH balance of your compost, inhibiting the decomposition process.

5. The Meaty Dilemma

Meat and its by-products are rich in nutrients but can be a real headache for the average composter. Like fish, the odour of decomposing meat is a beacon to pests and wildlife. It’s also a major contributor to a poorly aerated compost pile due to its density and tendency to clump together.

By being mindful of the contents of your compost, you can ensure a smooth, efficient process that keeps pests at bay and creates nutrient-dense soil that benefits the health and productivity of your garden. Remember, composting is both a science and an art, so never hesitate to research, experiment, and find the balance that works for your unique gardening goals and environment. Your efforts will not only reduce waste but also cultivate a greener, more vibrant home ecosystem.