Ultimate List of All composting Ingredients and where to find them

Written By Mehak Kashif

April 1, 2023

Composting is a simple, eco-friendly way of recycling food and garden waste into rich, nutrient-packed soil. Knowing the right composting ingredients to use in the quality of your compost. 

In this ultimate ingredients list, we will look at all the essential ingredients you need to start composting and where to find them. From kitchen scraps to yard waste, we have got you covered. So let’s start our journey toward a greener and more sustainable future.

Ultimate List of All composting Ingredients and where to find them

To create a perfect and high-quality compost, you need multiple ingredients. You can find many of them in your home. But for others, you may have to search around. Here I will share the list of major ingredients and their sources. 

List of essential ingredients for composting

The Ultimate List of All Composting Ingredients includes the following:

  • Green waste
  • Brown waste 
  • Food waste 
  • Manure 
  • Garden waste
  • Bedding materials
  • Soil
  • Water

Where to find essential ingredients for composting?

  • Green waste

Green waste refers to fresh plant matter such as leaves, grass clippings, and plant trimmings. These materials are high in nitrogen, an essential element for the growth of microorganisms in the compost pile. Green waste helps to balance the carbon-rich brown waste, leading to a healthier compost pile.

  • Brown waste

Brown waste includes dried leaves, twigs, branches, straws, paper, and cardboard. These materials are high in carbon, providing energy for the decomposers in the compost pile. Brown waste should comprise about 60% of the compost pile, with the remaining 40% being a green waste.

  • Food waste 

Food waste such as vegetables and fruit scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds can be composted, providing a rich source of nitrogen and other nutrients. However, food waste should be added in moderation as it can attract pests and cause unpleasant odors.

  • Manure 

Manure from horses, cows, chickens, and rabbits is a valuable addition to the compost pile. It contains high nitrogen levels and other nutrients, making it an excellent soil amendment. It is vital to properly cure and compost the manure to avoid pathogens and unpleasant odors.

  • Garden waste

Garden waste such as pruning trimmings, weeds, and dead flowers can be composted. These materials are a good source of nutrients and help maintain the compost pile balance.

  • Bedding materials

Bedding materials such as straw, sawdust, shredded paper, and leaves can be added to the compost pile to help balance the nitrogen-carbon ratio. Bedding materials also help to retain moisture in the compost pile.

  • Soil

Adding a small amount of soil to the compost pile can introduce beneficial microorganisms and promote decomposition.

  • Water 

Composting requires a balance of moisture, which is essential for the growth of microorganisms. Ensure the compost keeps moist but not too wet. Water can be added to the pile as needed.

These composting ingredients can be found in your garden, local parks, and community gardens, as well as at local recycling centers. Some stores sell composting ingredients, including green waste, brown waste, and manures. With this ultimate list of composting ingredients, you will be well on making healthy, nutrient-rich compost for your garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best ingredients for composting?

The best ingredients for composting include a combination of brown and green materials, such as fallen leaves, grass clippings, twigs, paper, and food scraps. The brown materials provide carbon, while the green materials provide nitrogen, creating the perfect balance for composting. 

Adding compost activators such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and manure can also improve composting. However, avoiding adding meat, dairy, and oils to the compost is important as they can attract pests and create unwanted odors.

How do I know if my composting ingredients are balanced?

To determine if your composting ingredients are balanced, you can use the carbon-to-nitrogen (C: N) ratio. A balanced compost pile should have a ratio of 30:1 to 40:1, meaning 30 parts carbon-rich ingredients to 1 part nitrogen-rich ingredients. 

You can measure the C: N ratio using a compost meter or a simple laboratory test. If your compost pile has an unbalanced ratio, you can adjust it by adding more carbon or nitrogen-rich ingredients. Regular monitoring of the compost pile will ensure that it remains balanced an

Where can I find composting ingredients in my local area?

Composting ingredients can be found in local grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and garden centers. Community gardens and food co-ops may also have composting materials for sale or for free. If you have a green thumb, your yard can provide ingredients like fallen leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps. 

You can also ask your neighbors for their organic waste, like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Finally, check with your local government for community composting programs or initiatives.

Can I compost food waste, and if so, what food can I compost?

Yes, you can compost food waste, including fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea leaves. Avoid composting meat, dairy, and processed foods, as they attract pests and have terrible odors. 

A well-maintained compost bin will break down the food waste into rich, nutrient-filled soil for your garden. Just ensure to mix the food waste with dry materials, such as straw and leaves, or to promote proper decomposition.

Can I compost pet waste or dairy products in my compost bin?

No, it is not recommended to compost pet waste or dairy products in a home compost bin. Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites, and dairy products can attract pests and create odors. It is best to dispose of pet waste and dairy products in the garbage or compost bin designated for food waste only.

How often should I add new ingredients to my compost bin?

It is recommended to add new ingredients to your compost bin every few days to a week. This helps maintain a balance of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich ingredients, which is necessary for the composting process to be efficient. However, if your compost bin is getting too full, you can pause adding new ingredients until it has had time to break down and reduce in size.


Composting is a valuable and environmentally-friendly practice that can transform waste into nutritious soil. The ultimate list of composting ingredients includes many organic materials, such as yard waste, food scraps, and paper products. 

With access to the right ingredients, anyone can start composting at home and contribute to a more sustainable future. Whether you find these ingredients in your backyard, at a local farmers’ market, or through a community composting program, the key is to start composting today and reap the benefits of healthier soil and the environment.

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