Government of New Brunswick
Ashes Maybe From untreated wood or paper, yes, in small amounts; but not from barbecues, plywood, coloured or glossy paper
Banana Skins Yes Decompose rapidly; can help to activate a slow compost; loaded with plant nutrients
Cardboard Yes Shred, soak, and mix with "greens"; but try first to reuse or recycle it
Citrus Fruits Yes Shred rinds; bury in compost to discourage fruit flies
Coffee Grounds Yes Good earthworm food; use directly on many plants; compost shredded filters, too
Corn Cobs Yes Shred; adds both fibre and nutrients to compost; good mulch; slow to break down
Dairy Products No Fats seal off air from compost; odours attract pests
Diseased Plants No Compost heat may not destroy disease; destroy or discard to avoid spreading
Dishwater Maybe If water doesn't contain grease or chemical cleansers, use it to wet pile
Dust and Lint Maybe Use vacuum cleaner debris and lint from clothes dryer, if mostly natural fibres
Eggshells Yes Dry and crush first; good earthworm food; slow to break down; help neutralize acidity; as mulch, may discourage slugs
Evergreen Needles Maybe Highly acidic; better yet, use as mulch
Fabrics Maybe Small scraps of wool, cotton, felt and silk; not synthetic fibres or blends
Feathers Yes Keep somewhat wetter than usual; extremely high in nitrogen
Fish Maybe Odours and pests are problems with fresh or smoked fish, but dried fishmeal is fine
Grass Clippings Yes Available and valuable; mix well to avoid clumps; leave some clippings to feed lawn
Hair Yes Both human and pet hair; keep quite damp; avoid using if coloured with chemicals
Hay and Straw Yes Very good fibre, nutrients usually low
Leaves Yes Shred and soak; add both nutrients and fibre; tend to be slightly acidic
Manure Yes Cow, horse, pig, rabbit, poultry, the fresher the better, helps any compost
Meat and Bones No Odours and pests are problems; but dried, ground bonemeal is fine source of nitrogen
Soil Yes Adds decomposer soil organisms; scatter lightly through pile to avoid compacting
Nutshells Maybe Crush delicate shells like peanuts; heavier shells are better used as decorative mulch
Paper Maybe Shred; not glossy/coloured which contain chemicals; better to recycle if possible
Pet Wastes No Risk of pathogens and parasites; use only barnyard manure (horse, cow, sheep, etc.)
Rhubarb Maybe Raw leaves poisonous to humans; composted leaves may harm insects and other plants; stems are fine; roots may continue to grow
Sawdust Maybe Hardwood sawdust, yes, in very small quantities; softwoods may inhibit composting; plywood may contain chemicals
Seafood Shells Yes Crush or grind very finely; break down very slowly; reduce acidity; good mulch
Seaweed Yes Rinse off salt so it won’t contaminate soil; great fertilizer
Sod Yes Knock off excess soil; pile upside down; cover to prevent rooting; compost separately to avoid compaction
Soup Maybe Vegetable, yes; do not use soups with cream or meat-based broths to avoid odours and pests; read labels on canned soups.
Tea Leaves Yes High in nitrogen; can be applied directly to some plants; compost tea bags too
Toadstools Yes Decompose quickly; excellent source of many minerals
Weeds Yes Discard mature seeds, persistent roots, weeds treated with herbicides/pesticides
Wood Chips Yes Shred if possible and soak; use big pieces as mulch first, compost when weathered