What you thought was compostable

What you thought was compostable… but is not

We all try to be greener today then the day before. As a society we focus on proper recycling, ethical production, and which items are compostable and able to be put back in the land. While we strive to be as responsible as possible, if products are sorted incorrectly this can cause huge inefficiencies, and pose a danger due to contamination.

Here’s five things common items which are sorted into compost which cannot be composted.

1. Sawdust

More specifically sawdust from treated wood. Up until only a few years ago, most wood used for external structures (such as playground and railroads) were treated with pressure treated preservatives such as Chromated Copper Arsenate or Creosate. Woods with preservatives are toxic and cannot be composted. This also includes plywood, particle board, OSB, and MDF. These must be disposed of in a landfill.

2. Biodegradable products

All compostable products are biodegradable, but not all biodegradable products are compostable. Biodegradable only means that a product breaks down into smaller versions of itself over time, not that it can be used for fertilization. Unless a biodegradable product states that it is compostable it needs to be sorted properly.

3. Dryer Lint and sheets.

Unless you wear only organic materials, your dryer lint is made up for synthetic fibers which cannot breakdown. This also goes for your dryer sheets. A compostable option for dryers is to purchase wool based dryer balls.

4. Walnuts

Walnut trees release a chemical called juglone which is toxic to some vegetables and plants, such as tomatoes so it is best to avoid composting anything related to walnuts in case you want to use the resulting compost with susceptible veggies.

5. Greasy Food Containers

The build up on oil in these containers will contaminate the compost. This is a no go. These containers cannot be composted or even recycled. 


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