The Compost Recipe | What to Put in Your Compost Bin?

Abi Reid baking away,  reducing food waste across South Yorkshire
Abi Reid
22 Apr 2022

To get the best compost at home, you need to aim for a 50/50 mixture of ‘green’ and ‘brown’ materials in your bin.

Here are some examples of these materials:

GREEN MATERIALS- these materials are quick to rot and provide important nitrogen and moisture.

  • Animal manure with straw
  • Annual weeds
  • Bracken
  • Brussel sprout stalks
  • Carrot tops
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit peelings and pulp
  • Fruit seeds
  • Grass cuttings
  • Hay
  • Hedge trimmings
  • House plants
  • Ivy leaves
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Seaweed
  • Soft pruning’s and plant debris
  • Tea leaves
  • Urine
  • Vegetable peelings and pulp


BROWN MATERIALS- these materials are slower to rot, provide carbon & fibre and allow air pockets to form.

  • Autumn leaves
  • Cardboard
  • Christmas tree (real)
  • Cotton towels
  • Cotton wool
  • Egg boxes
  • Egg shells
  • Evergreen prunings
  • Hair
  • Leaves
  • Natural corks
  • Nuts
  • Paper
  • Paper bags
  • Privet
  • Sawdust
  • Straw
  • Sweetcorn cobs
  • Tea leaves
  • Thorny pruning’s
  • Tomato plants
  • Used kitchen paper


KEEP THESE OUT OF YOUR BIN- adding these will impact the quality of your compost and may attract unwanted pests and vermin.

  • Bones
  • Bread
  • Cans
  • Cat litter
  • Cigarette ends
  • Cling film
  • Cooking oil
  • Crisp packets
  • Dairy products
  • Disposable nappies
  • Dog food
  • Dog poo
  • Drink cartons
  • Invasive plant species
  • Meat and fish scraps
  • Perennial weeds
  • Plastic bags
  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic pots, tubs and trays
  • Soiled tissues


*Some composting systems (such as hot bin systems) may be able to cope with meat, fish and dairy products but please consult the instructions/ manufacturer before adding them to your bin.


Find out more about composting  #SouthYorkshireComposts

  1. Beginners guide to composting
  2. What are the benefits of composting at home?
  3. Methods of composting

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