10 Things for the Compost Bin

Many of us are in the habit of putting a lot of our waste into the trash if we think it can’t be recycled. One alternative is to compost it, and much more can be composted than we may think. Since I started trying to reduce my landfill waste, I’ve invested in a small compost bin, which I regularly fill up, and take to a compost heap.

As I have gone further into my journey, I’ve found more and more ways to reduce my landfill waste. Here are some ideas of what can go in the compost bin:

1. Tissues

Most of us will use tissues and then automatically go to put them in the trash. I know, because I’ve done it myself. However, tissues are made from the same materials as paper, and are therefore compostable.

You can put them straight into the compost bin, or tear them into smaller pieces to help the process of breaking down to happen faster.

2. Hair

If you think about it, hair is compostable. Since it’s something that grows naturally on us, it can be put straight into a compost bin, whether you’ve just had a haircut, or brushed your hair.

3. Cotton buds made from paper or bamboo

Over the last few months there have been various articles in the news about cotton buds and how they’re made from plastic. Although this is currently the case for some brands, it isn’t always the case.

There are an increasing number of brands switching to paper cotton buds, and there are also some that offer bamboo ones too.

Related article: 3 months of alot less trash: my plastic free journey so far

4. Dust from the vacuum cleaner

When I became a homeowner, one of the things I needed to buy was a vacuum cleaner. There are an increasing number of compact, bagless vacuum cleaners on the market these days, where the dust can be emptied straight out. Rather than put it into landfill, I put it straight into a compost bin, as again, dust will break down in the composter and so there is no need to put it into landfill.

There are also some handheld vacuum cleaners where the dust can be emptied straight out. If you have one of these, I’d recommend putting the dust straight into the compost heap from there too.

Ten things for the compost bin

5. Nail clippings

As with no. 2 above, our nails grow naturally, and are therefore the clippings are ideal for putting into the compost bin rather than landfill.

You may think that this is only a small change, and that any waste here is minimal. However, having been on a journey to going zero waste for just over a year now, I’d say that you may be surprised at just how much impact small changes can have.

6. Worn out clothing (if 100% natural fibres, with no glitter / sequins on it).

Any items of clothing which are made from 100% natural fibres will break down naturally, and are therefore suitable for the compost bin. An example is cotton.

If you have a piece of clothing that is totally worn out, and there is really no other purpose it can be used for, and it can’t be upcycled into anything else, I’d recommend cutting it up into small pieces and putting it in the compost bin.

By cutting it into small pieces, it will break down more quickly, and even more so if the composter is added to, and the contents are stirred regularly.

7. Bamboo products such as bamboo toothbrushes

I have a number of bamboo products at home; some examples are a refillable face powder compact, bamboo toothbrushes, soap dishes and hairbrushes.

Just like wood, bamboo is a natural material, and so once these items are completely worn out, and there is no further use for them at all, they can be composted. Again, I’d recommend breaking any larger items into smaller pieces where possible to help the composting process to happen more quickly.

Related article: How to do a supermarket shop and take home less plastic

8. Teabags (providing they don’t contain any plastic)

Teabags are another item that have been in the news in recent months, for the reason that some brands have been reported as using around 25% plastic in the actual bags themselves.

Whenever I buy teabags, I check the back of the box to make sure it states that the teabags are compostable. If they are, buying compostable teabags is another way to reduce the amount of waste that might otherwise go to landfill.

9. Cork

Wine bottle corks are a 100% natural material. They can be composted if you break them down in a blender first. If you don’t wish to do this, there are other uses for them here: can you compost wine corks

10. Uncooked fruit and vegetable waste

When making recipes, I tend to find that there are small amounts of fruit and vegetable waste which I’ve been unable to find another use for so far. So I make sure they go in the compost bin too.

Another option is that if you have a food waste collection service where you live, food waste can go into there too for making into biofuels.

Ten things for the compost bin

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10 Replies to “10 Things for the Compost Bin”

  1. Great list of compostables 😃 I only realised a couple of years ago that tissues could be composted. Now our bathroom bin is entirely for compostable items 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great! Mine is getting that way too, although I’m not quite there yet! Admittedly with the bathroom I am still using up toothbrush heads for the electric toothbrush which I bought a good while back. They will go to TerraCycle for recycling though 😊


  2. This is great! I remember when my friends told me they composted their husky’s fur. My mind was blown but then I realized it does make sense!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great list! I live in Minneapolis and we have organics pickup in addition to recycling. I have a compost bin in my garden but in winter it is deep under the snow so the organics service is fabulous.

    Question about your bamboo toothbrush, how long does it last? The plastic ones are supposed to be tossed out after three months. Because of that I use a recycled plastic toothbrush that I just have to change to head on. But of course, the brush head is plastic and the bristles are nylon or something. Would be interested in trying bamboo but they are spendy, especially if it only get to use it for three months.


    1. Hi Stefanie. Thanks! I have organics pickup here too which is great. It’s a bit hit and miss though as not all local councils (I’m in the UK) offer it. Something for the future maybe.

      With bamboo toothbrushes I work on the basis that they last for 3 months too. Sometimes the bristles are also nylon but they can be pulled off of the brush before composting.

      Also, I know that TerraCycle have recently started a recycling scheme for plastic toothbrushes and toothbrush heads here in the U.K. Is there a similar scheme in the US?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to know about the bamboo toothbrushes. Yes, TerraCycle started a recycling scheme in the US too. The natural foods co-op where I shop has a recycling bin for them which helps me feel not so bad about about using plastic and nylon.

        Liked by 1 person

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