In 2018, the US recovered 29 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste through composting alone. Composting is probably one of the most useful ways to reduce your own waste. You can decompose your yard and kitchen waste into highly nutritive compost for plant growths. Indoor composting is becoming highly popular in the US and in other parts of the world. Compost tumblers are among the favorite choices for composting in gardens and indoors.
An entirely sealed container that can be rotated to mix composting material is known as a compost tumbler. This sealed container aids in trapping the heat that is generated by composting process; as a result, the whole process speeds up. Through rotating, the compost tumblers introduce the air pockets to the organic matter present inside them. Microbes use this oxygen to break down food and other organic material.
Things Not to Put in a Compost Tumbler
You have surely heard that you can put organic waste into a compost tumbler like food scrapes, plant leaves, and your kitchen waste as well. But you must be more careful with what you cannot put into your compost tumbler. Here is a list of such things that are not suitable to add to your composting bin or tumbler.
Also Read: Can I Put Rhubarb Leaves On My Compost Heap?
1. Meat and Fish Scrape
Old seafood and rotten meat surely have the most irritating odors for humans. But the same odors work as a magnet for most animals and pests. The smell of rotten meat and seafood attracts flies, rats, raccoons, and some other wild animals. Even if your tumbler is sealed, the odor will still attract unwanted pests. So, if you don’t want your compost to become the host of all these animals, then do not put meat and fish in your compost tumbler.
2. Disease or Insect-Infested Plants
If you add diseased or insect-infested plants to your compost, it will require 141°F to 145°F at least for several days to kill insects and harmful pathogens, including some bacteria and fungi. Homemade compost bins or compost tumblers usually do not reach such high temperatures, so harmful pests will thrive on your compost, and when you add this compost to your plants, it will cause plant diseases.
3. Charcoal Ash
Although you can add your firewood ash into your compost bin, you must avoid adding coal and charcoal ash to your compost tumbler. The coal has a higher percentage of sulfur which can acidify your compost, and many plants can’t bear such a high-level acidity. Besides this, charcoal has some other harmful chemicals that can cause harm to your plants when you add this compost to your plants.
4. Dairy, Fats, and Oils
Dairy products such as butter, cream, milk, cheese, and yogurt attract unwanted pests and visitors. Fats and oils also fall under this category, so you must avoid adding them to your compost tumbler if you do not want unwanted insects and pests to attack your compost. Processed foods with many fats and dairy items must also be left behind.
5. Citrus Fruit Peels
Citrus fruit peels take a longer time to decompose and have higher acidic content. They decrease the pH of your compost and slow down the decomposition process.
6. Cat and Dog Waste
Both cat and dog wastes have harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause various diseases in humans. So, your cats’ and dogs’ waste must not go to your compost tumbler. In a dog’s waste, roundworms are a serious threat. Cat’s waste contains an organism that can cause toxoplasmosis disease in pregnant females.
7. Coated Cardboard Packaging
Any food packaging that is coated with foil or plastic is not suitable to add to a compost tumbler. Takeaway cups, juice boxes, waxy-lined paper cups, and milk cartons are not compostable, so do not add them to your compost.
8. Naturally Toxic Plants
Some plants are naturally toxic that you must not add to your compost tumbler. Please avoid adding oleander leaves and anything related to the black walnut tree (including walnuts) because they contain juglone, a naturally toxic chemical for plants.
9. Lawn Trimmings Recently Treated with Herbicides and Pesticides
If your lawn grass is treated with a high concentration of herbicides and pesticides, then using its trim causes harm to your compost. You have to wait for a few weeks before adding any treated grass or lawn trim to your compost to decrease the treatment effects.
10. Cigarette Butts
Some cigarette butts are made of plastic, so they will not decompose. Besides this, cigarette has harmful chemicals that are not suitable for many plants. Although tobacco is compostable, cigarette butt has many other components that are not compostable at all.
11. Synthetic Soaps
Non-biodegradable soaps are not recommended to add to your compost tumbler. Check your soap’s label; if it is biodegradable, you can add it to your compost; otherwise, avoid it.
12. Used Feminine Hygiene Products
Used tampons, pads, and cardboard applicators are not allowed to add to your compost tumbler. Anything that has blood contains hard-to-kill pathogens, and these pathogens will transfer to your compost as well. Reusable cotton liners can be added to your compost if they have been properly washed.
13. Synthetic Fabric of Any Kind
Synthetic fabric contains all kinds of harmful dyes and chemicals. Even if your fabric is 99% cotton and 1% polyester, it will not decompose. A small fabric can ruin your entire compost, so it’s better not to add them.
14. Onion and Garlic Scrapes
Onion and garlic scrapes can kill beneficial bacteria and microbes, which are essential for decomposing waste materials.
15. Leather goods
Leather goods, including wallets, belts, purses, gloves, etc., can take many years for proper decompose. Try not to add any leather good to your composting tumbler at all.
16. Glossy Paper
Any paper with a glossy plastic finish is dangerous for your compost pile. The glossy paper includes magazines, product catalogs, photographs, and wrapping papers. Please do not put any of them in your compost tumbler.
17. Weeds That Have Gone to Seed
Do not add weeds that have developed seeds to your compost because they can survive up to 145°F compost temperature. So, that means it’s hard to decompose such weeds, and they will grow faster in your compost tumbler.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the four best items to add to your composting tumbler?
Fruit waste, vegetable peelings, tea bags, and plant or grass pruning/cuttings are the best items to add to a composting tumbler. These items are easily compostable and are rich in nutrients as well.
2. Why are black walnut leaves not suitable for compost tumblers?
Black walnut tree leaves, twigs, and even walnuts are not recommended to add to a composting tumbler. They excrete a toxin called juglone that is harmful to many plant species.
3. Why doesn’t plastic compostable?
Carbon-carbon bond in polypropylene is much stronger, and it requires a lot of energy to break this bond. It’s impossible to produce such a high amount of energy naturally. According to a research, almost 100 years are required to degrade plastic naturally.