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cold.compost.layers 208x156The browns you add to your compost heap are the carbon producers and are often not brown at all! Plants absorb carbons as they grow and turn this element into the plant structure. For good compost you need a 50/50 mix of greens and browns. The following list contains some of the carbon producers that you can add to your compost bin to help make good compost;

  • Newspaper - should be scrunched up to add volume and air. closely packed sheets of paper will not decompose
  • Envelopes - no plastic windows
  • Magazines - coloured inks are made from vegetable dyes, the sheets should be scrunched up to add volume and air
  • Computer printer paper - should be scrunched up to add volume and air.
  • Toilet roll middles
  • Cardboard including corrugated cardboard - may need tearing into smaller pieces to fit into your bin
  • Pet bedding from vegetarian pets such as chickens, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits.
  • Egg boxes
  • Woody plant stems up to the thickness of your thumb
  • Tissue paper, kitchen paper and paper napkins
  • Wood shavings and sawdust
  • Coffee grounds and filter paper - also adds a nice aroma to your compost
  • Tea leaves and tea bags
  • Corn cobs
  • Junk mail - should be scrunched up to add volume and air.
  • Shredded paper - is a great way to add paper and air to your compost
  • Bills, receipts and confidential papers - should be scrunched up
  • Hedge clippings - not coniferous unless you want acidic compost
  • Sprout stalks
  • Animal manure with straw or wood shavings, in small quantities
  • Hay
  • Thorny pruning’s including roses - the thorns will decompose
  • Wood and coal ash

Other cardboard boxes from the kitchen such as cereal boxes, tissue boxes etc and gift wrap can also be composted however this type of cardboard/paper has a plastic coating and therefore the plastic will need to be removed from your compost once the card or paper has rotted down.

This list is quite comprehensive but is by no means exhausted. If you have something that is not listed, and want to know whether it can go into your compost bin, please ask me.

Remember "If in doubt, leave it out!"

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