Composting is one of the most important actions you can undertake as a sustainable, eco-friendly gardener. You can find out about the basics of this important activity for polytunnel gardeners elsewhere on this site. Once you delve a little deeper into the various forms of composting, you will find that you can reduce your household waste considerably. To help you move towards a zero-waste lifestyle and compost as much as possible, here are some things you did not realise you could put on your compost heap (but you can):
Cellulose Or Other Biodegradable ‘Plastic’ Food Packaging
More and more individuals, companies and groups are realising the problems with plastic, and a huge drive in underway to solve the massive problem of plastic waste. Fortunately, more and more companies are now understanding the importance of moving away from plastics that remain in the environment and towards materials that are fully biodegradable and can be composted at home. Cellulose (made from wood-fibre) and plastic-like corn starch packaging can be placed on your compost heap.
You may be surprised to learn that latex is also a natural and compostable material. Latex gloves, natural latex condoms, latex (though not plastic) balloons and other things made from this material can be composted in your garden. These things will take a long while to break down, however, so are best composted in a slower heap rather than in a compost heap from which you expect a quick turnover.
Natural Loofahs & Sponges
Other items that it can be easy to forget that you can compost in your garden are natural loofahs and natural sponges. These are entirely organic items that can be chopped up small and added to the compost heap in your garden. Loofahs are a form of squash, and sea sponges are a natural organism.
Human & Pet Hair/ Nail Clippings
While these, too, will take a long while to decompose, you can also add your own hair and nail clippings to a long-term compost heap. If you have longer hair, it is best to chop the strands up small before adding them to your compost heap, to reduce the length of time it takes to decompose. Pet hair you brush from your pets, or sweep up off the floor can also be added to your compost heap.
Natural Fabric Scraps
Cotton, wool or other natural fabrics can also be chopped up as small as possible and added to a long-term compost heap. If you wear only natural fabrics, you can also add the lint from your washing machine to the heap. (Though the lint of synthetic fabrics should not be included.)
These are just some of the things you can compost at home to help keep waste from landfill sites and reduce your negative impact on this planet. Do you have any composting suggestions to share? Please feel free to do so in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.