What are some examples of compostable products?

Posted by Lisa on December 20, 2022
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    Composting means using a mixture of materials to create a nutrient-rich soil that can be used for growing plants. There are many different types of compostable products, but you'll usually find them in the following categories:

    Examples of Compostable Products

    Compostable products are made from materials that can be broken down by microorganisms. Compostable products are biodegradable, not biocompatible. If a product is biodegradable, it means that it will break down over time under the right conditions (such as heat and moisture). Biocompatible means that something won't negatively affect the environment or living things around it. For example:

    • An apple core can eventually be added to your compost pile and decompose into soil nutrients. This is a compostable product because it's made from plant-based material (the apple), which makes up most of its components; but when you're eating an apple, you don't want to think about how long its core could sit in your stomach before breaking down! So if we were to call this "biodegradable," we'd be using the word incorrectly since there is nothing about apples themselves that make them digestible by humans—it's actually us who eat them!


    • Bread
    • Cereal
    • Fruit and vegetable skins/peels, such as oranges, apples, lemons, bananas or tomatoes. You can also put in egg shells (crushed), coffee grounds and filters & tea bags.
    • Paper towels, tissues and napkins - these break down easily in compost bins because they’re made from wood pulp or cotton fibers that easily decompose with the help of microorganisms in your bin.
    • Waxed paper products like waxed cardboard containers are hard to break down in a traditional compost pile because they contain little to no water content. It's best to toss them into the landfill since they'll take longer than other materials to degrade without access to moisture.

    Coffee Grounds and Filters

    If you're looking for a place to recycle your coffee filter, it's best to check with your local government. While some places have recycling programs for filters, others do not. If there is no program available in your area, try contacting your local coffee shop or other business and see if they can accept used filters from customers.

    Tea Bags

    • Tea bags are made of paper, so they can be composted.
    • Some tea bags are coated with wax. Wax is not compostable and will not break down in the same way as paper does. If you want to make sure that your tea bag is compostable, look for a Biodegradable logo on the packaging or check out the packaging’s ingredients list—if it says “recycled material” or “paper fiber” then it should be fine!

    Paper Towels, Tissues, and Napkins

    Paper towels, tissues, and napkins are all compostable. When you're done with them, simply throw them in your backyard compost pile or take them to a community composting facility.

    Wax and Wax-Coated Paper and Cardboard

    Wax-coated paper and cardboard are not compostable. Although they're made from a plant-based material, any wax coating on the paper prevents it from getting wet, which is needed in order for food waste to break down. This means that it's not possible for you to use these products in your home compost system or backyard composter.

    A lot of people think that all waxed papers are recyclable, because many cities have "recycle" symbols on them. But this isn't always true: although some of these papers can be recycled in curbside bins if they don't contain foil or plastic laminate (which is what makes them waterproof), others cannot be recycled at all because they're coated with paraffin (a type of wax).


    Newspaper is made from wood, and it can be composted. But you can't just throw a pile of newspapers into your backyard compost pile; it's not going to work. Even if you were able to find enough cardboard boxes and other paper products to fill up your backyard, all that newspaper would take too long to break down in a traditional compost bin.

    So what do you do with all those old newspapers? In most cases, the best option is to take them directly to a commercial facility that specializes in recycling newsprint into paper products or mulch—if there's one nearby where you live, give them a call and see if they'll accept your donations! Otherwise, try asking around at local businesses and community centers: many might have some other method for recycling their own discarded stacks of old magazines or newspapers.

    Packing Peanuts

    You may not have thought about it, but packing peanuts are compostable! And yes, that means they're a bit different than the plastic kind. Compostable packing peanuts are made from starch, like corn and potato starch. These materials break down into carbon dioxide, water and biomass rather than plastic residue—which means they're biodegradable (and highly renewable).

    That said, some companies do take advantage of the fact that their products are labeled "compostable" when in reality they aren't entirely compostable. The most common example of this is cereal boxes; just because something is labeled with "biodegradable" or "compostable" does not mean that it will actually break apart in your backyard worm farm (or even if you throw it out in the garbage).

    Wood Splinters and Sawdust

    Sawdust and wood splinters are a good source of carbon for compost. You can make your own compost pile by gathering these materials, or you can add them to an existing pile or bin. If you don't have any open areas in which to make a new pile, put it in an unused corner of your yard and over time the worms will work their way through it.

    A lot of the things you throw away can be composted.

    There are many different kinds of compostable products you can use in your home. You can also find these items at local garden centers and home improvement stores. For example, you might choose to use compostable cups, plates and utensils at your next party or event.

    Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills every year. It's easy for anyone to do at home with just a few simple materials like newspaper or cardboard boxes filled with soil. If this sounds like something you'd like to try out for yourself, consider purchasing a composting bin or kit from one of our trusted brands such as Home Depot® or Lowe's®!


    That’s a lot of stuff. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are many more compostable products out there that can help you reduce your waste. But we hope this post gave you some ideas to get started on your journey towards zero-waste living.

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