5 Things You Never Knew You Could Compost

November 27, 2017


Among the numerous benefits associated with the composting, the process provides composters with a natural fertilizer while finding a more effective use for items that would otherwise be tossed in the garbage. However, as university students, composting can easily become the last thing on our minds as we become consumed with finishing assignments on time and cramming for exams. Many students are intrigued by the idea but are unsure of what can actually be composted, and many find it difficult to sort through compostable and non-compostable materials. Here is a list of some everyday items that you probably didn’t know could be composted:


1. Pencil Shavings


Although it may seem obvious, many people forget that pencil shavings can become a part of their compost piles. Most pencils are made from cedar wood, which is a biodegradable material. Cedar wood also deters many insects, so the pencil shavings can be worked into the soil around the plant to prevent any unwanted pests. 


2. Hair


Your hair can actually be added to your compost pile as well! Although it may sound odd, human hair is safe to compost. Our hair is rich in nitrogen, and can deliver nutrients to the soil to make it lush and fertile. 


3. Paper towel/toilet paper rolls


Next time you reach the end of a roll, instead of throwing it in the recycling bin, try adding it to your compost pile! The rolls can be used to soak up extra water in the pile. To allow for them to be composted quickly, rip them into smaller pieces before tossing them in.


4. Latex


Not sure what to do with those slowly deflating latex balloons from your end-of-exam celebration? You can add them to your compost pile too! Latex is biodegradable, so items made of this material can be composted. Latex balloons (make sure there are no plastic materials added) and latex gloves are relatively thin, and can be composted fairly quickly.   


5. Stale cereal


You can finally put that box of cereal that expired weeks ago to good use by composting the contents, instead of tossing it in the trash. Stale cereal can be the perfect addition to your compost pile, as it breaks down relatively quickly and adds carbon to the mixture.


Composting can go beyond your ordinary food scraps and leaves! There are many interesting things that can be composted that are also staples in your everyday life. To find out more about compostable and non-compostable items, you can visit our page here:




or you can visit:






Gifford, D. (2017, May 05). 100 Things You Can Compost. Retrieved from https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/100-things-you-can-compost


Mantz, A. (2016, March 10). Tip of the Week: Give Pencil Shavings New Life in the Garden. Retrieved from https://thrivemarket.com/blog/tip-give-pencil-shavings-new-life-in-the-garden

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UWCC aims to promote a campus-wide composting service at UW from diverting organics from the regional landfill, as well as raising awareness of zero-waste practices.

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