What Is Composting?
  • Composting is a process of recycling unusable organic material back into something usable
  • Almost any non-animal-based food or non-synthetic material can be broken down into compost
  • The end result is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can be used for gardening or potted plants
Composting Basics

I. Three Basic Ingredients

  • Browns: dead leaves, paper, yard waste (high in carbon)
  • Greens: food scraps, grass clippings, and eggshells (high in nitrogen)
  • Water: water helps facilitate the breakdown of your materials
II. The Right Combination
  • Should be roughly equal greens to browns
  • Moisten materials as you add them to the pile
  • Ensure that you turn over the compost pile every couple of days and remoisten
  • Once the material on the bottom is dark and soil-like it is ready for use!
What Can You Compost?
  • Can
    • Fruit and veggie scraps
    • Coffee grounds, filters, and tea bags
    • Leaves, grass clippings, clover, pine needles/cones, and straw
    • Feathers, corn cobs, shredded paper, and paper towels
    • Manure
    • Bread, nutshells, and eggshells
    • Dead leaves/plants, potting soil, dried flowers, and sawdust
    • Hair
    • Dryer lint (only if dryer sheets were not used)
  • Cannot
    • Weeds with seeds
    • Sand, coal, and charcoal ashes
    • Colored, glossy or film paper
    • Meat and fish scraps, cheese/dairy, oils and grease
    • Pet feces or cat litter
    • Dead animals
    • Large pieces of wood or branches, treated lumber, and warehouse pallets
    • Tin, aluminum, and steel
    • Peanut butter
Benefits of Composting
  • Lowers carbon footprint
  • Enriches soil
  • Reduces need for chemical fertilizers
  • Conserves water and money
Composting Poster

Contact Us

Institute for the Study of the Environment, Sustainability and Energy
325 Montgomery Hall
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-6563
Fax: 815-753-2902
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