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10 Surprisingly Compostable Items of Household Waste


Those of us who compost will be used to tossing vegetable peelings, lawn trimmings and leaves onto our compost pile. But did you know that the list of compostable household goods is actually far longer?

Here I share my top 10 suprisingly compostable household waste items.

1. Matches

Matches, either used or unused can be composted. If unused, make sure to soak them in water first to render them unusable. You don't want to risk starting a small forest fire in your back garden. I keep a small plant pot with my candle supplies to collect my used matches whenever I light candles.

2. Hair

Whether you've trimmed your fringe or just cleaned out your hairbrushes, don't toss the hair into the landfill bin. Instead, compost it.

3. Nail clippings

The same goes for nail clippings. Really. In fact, virtually anything that comes off the human body can - and should - be composted. I keep a discrete jar in my bathroom cupboard for collecting any nail trimmings - anybody nosing in my medicine cabinet is in for a surprise!

4. Sanitary products

This one surprises people a lot. If you use 100% cotton tampons or sanitary pads, you can compost them. So, if you're not quite ready to make the switch to a moon cup or washable pads but you want a more environmentally friendly option: here it is. Toss your used sanitary goods into the compost.

5. Condoms

The same goes for 100% latex condoms (and 100% latex balloons, gloves, etc.) Even if they've been "used." As both the latex and the, uh, other substance, are entirely natural, they decompose well in compost and save on landfill.

6. Cotton fabric

Many areas now offer fabric recycling services, but if you're not living in one and have old 100% cotton items that are too used to donate, rip them up into small bits and compost them instead.

7. Pencil shavings

As long as the pencil in question isn't covered in a plastic coating, you can go ahead and compost these. I keep an old miniature plant pot at my desk and sharpen my pencils directly into this, rather than over my bin. When it starts to fill up, simply toss onto the heap.

8. Pet fur, feathers, skin and droppings