What Materials Can Be Home Composted

Compostable materials can be divided into two types 'green' or 'brown'. Green materials are rich in nitrogen, provide a source of moisture and rot down quickly as they contain bacteria that kick start the composting process. Brown materials are rich in carbon. They take longer to rot down and help to create air pockets within the compost.

Here are some examples of green and brown materials. They can all be home composted.


  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grounds and filter paper
  • Fruit peelings (including citrus peel)
  • Vegetable peelings and leaves (including rhubarb leaves)
  • Dead plants, flowers and old bedding plants
  • Grass cuttings
  • Nettles
  • Annual weeds
  • Pond algae and seaweed
  • Comfrey leaves
  • Chicken and pig manure


  • Egg shells
  • Cardboard (scrunched or torn up) e.g. egg boxes, cereal boxes, corrugated cardboard packaging, toilet and kitchen roll tubes
  • Plain paper e.g. scrunched up newspaper and shredded paper
  • Tissues, paper towels, kitchen roll and napkins (only if they have not been in contact with meat, fats and disease)
  • Garden prunings, dry leaves, twigs, hedge clippings, woody clippings
  • Straw and hay
  • Bedding from vegetarian pets e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters
  • Corn cobs
  • Wool, feathers, cotton threads, string (made from natural fibres), natural fibre clothes (e.g. woolly jumpers – cut into small pieces)
  • Vacuum bag contents (if carpets are made from natural fibres)
    Tumble dryer fluff (from natural fibre textiles)
  • Ash from paper, wood and charcoal

The following items are not suitable for home composting:

  • Persistent weeds
  • Coal ash
  • Plastic / glass / metal items
  • Nappies
  • Cat litter and dog faeces
  • Large branches
  • Cooked food rich in carbohydrates e.g. bread, pasta
  • Cheese and dairy products
  • Fish
  • Meat
  • Cooked vegetables