Compost for the Holidays? Easier Than You Think.

Compost Sak by Smart Pots

Forgive me, please, if it seems quirky to suggest that bright, merry, and yummy seasonal items are candidates for the compost bin, pile, bag, or tumbler. My grandmother was a composting fanatic. I can remember the scent and texture of the earthy stuff as far back as I can remember anything. In the 1980s, I read the first edition of Stu Campbell's classic, "Let It Rot." I've been making compost for at least 35 years.

Yet, my composting education continues. This year I learned, for instance, that the cardboard rolls inside gift wrap (and rolls inside paper towels and toilet paper) are fair game for backyard decomposition.  

Here's a list of 20 compost-ready items I recently compiled for my latest article at Zip06/TheDay. They range from the familiar to the surprising. (The article also offers helpful recycling websites, ways to learn about composting, calculators to help minimize food purchases, and some cool composting bins that work in small spaces, apartments, or condos.)

20 Compost-Ready Items  

1. Veggie scraps, uncooked or cooked, are great compost as long as they are without oil or salt. Moldy or freezer-burned veggies are okay, too.

2. Fruit scraps and rinds, uncooked or cooked, are fine even if they have some sugar, honey, or molasses on them. Moldy or freezer-burned fruits are okay, too.

3. Coffee grounds and tea bags, as well as the filters, bags, strings, and tags are good additions.

4. Olive and avocado pits, and other large seeds

5. Expired herbs, spices, tea bags, and tea leaves

6. Eggshells, preferably crushed

7. Shells of nuts and peanuts, salt-free

8. Dry popcorn, such as decorative popcorn chains or unpopped popcorn at the bottom of the popcorn maker. (If the popcorn is strung on cotton or burlap twine, it, too, is compost-worthy.)

9. Leftover gelatin dishes, or gelatin packets past expiration (sugar is not a problem).

10. Used potpourri and mulling spices

11. Paper napkins and paper towels are compostable if free of glossy paper, or residue of dairy, meat, poultry, or fish. Traces of oil or liquids are okay. Color is okay.

12. Plain brown gift boxes and plain newsprint compost well, especially torn or shredded.

13. Plain gift tissue, without plastic or metallic sparkles. (Colors are okay.)

14. Plain paper gift wrap or ribbon, without glossy, waxy, plastic, or metallic surfaces.

15. Plain egg cartons (no glossy paper or plastics)

16. Cardboard rolls inside paper towels and gift wrap. (Toilet paper rolls, too.)

17. Plain envelopes from holiday cards (not metallic or coated).

18. Leaves and needles from Christmas trees and wreaths, dead poinsettias and bouquets

19. Fireplace ashes and matches

20. Cotton “snow” decorations without plastics or metallic sparkles. (All-wool and all-cotton items are compostable, too.)

For more information--on holiday recycling, minimizing food purchases and food waste, and some cool composting bins that work in small spaces, apartments, or condos,  please see my latest article at Zip06/TheDay