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City of Novi
City of Novi


Hands Holding Composte with plant growing in itMost people know they can compost fruit and vegetable peels, leaves, and grass clippings. But what about that tea bag you used this morning? Or the fur that collects in the brush when you groom your cat?

The following list is meant to get you thinking about your compost possibilities. Imagine how much trash we could prevent from going into the landfills if each of us just decided to compost a few more things. Here are some ideas to get you started…

From the Kitchen

  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Used paper napkins
  • Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
  • Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
  • The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
  • Plain cooked pasta
  • Plain cooked rice
  • Stale bread
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Stale saltine crackers
  • Stale cereal
  • Used paper plates (as long as they don't have a waxy coating)
  • Cellophane bags (be sure it's really Cellophane and not just clear plastic—there's a difference)
  • Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
  • Old herbs and spices
  • Stale pretzels
  • Pizza crusts
  • Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  • Wine corks
  • Moldy cheese
  • Melted ice cream
  • Old jelly, jam, or preserves
  • Stale beer and wine
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Toothpicks
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Paper cupcake or muffin cups

From the Bathroom

  • Used facial tissues
  • Hair from your hairbrush
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Old loofahs
  • Nail clippings
  • Urine
  • 100% Cotton cotton balls
  • Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks
  • Cardboard tampon applicators
  • Latex condoms

From the Laundry Room

  • Dryer lint
  • Old/stained cotton clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces
  • Old wool clothing—rip or cut it into smaller pieces

From the Office

  • Bills and other documents you've shredded
  • Envelopes (minus the plastic window)
  • Pencil shavings
  • Sticky notes
  • Business cards (as long as they're not glossy)
  • Receipts

Around the House

  • Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
  • Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
  • Subscription cards from magazines
  • Leaves trimmed from houseplants
  • Dead houseplants and their soil
  • Flowers from floral arrangements
  • Natural potpourri
  • Used matches
  • Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit

Party and Holiday Supplies

  • Wrapping paper rolls
  • Paper table cloths
  • Crepe paper streamers
  • Latex balloons
  • Raffia
  • Excelsior
  • Jack o' Lanterns
  • Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor
  • Natural holiday wreaths
  • Your Christmas tree. Chop it up with some pruners first (or use a wood chipper, if you have one)
  • Evergreen garlands


  • Fur from the dog or cat brush
  • Droppings and bedding from your rabbit/gerbil/hamsters, etc.
  • Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird cage
  • Feathers
  • Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits)
  • Rawhide dog chews
  • Fish food
  • Dry dog or cat food