Anything that has recently been living or is the product of something recently living is compostable!

  • scrapsAll food scraps (remove stickers from peelings!)
  • Even meat, bones, grease, oils and dairy products* – oils (unless small amounts mixed with more solid compostables) are NOT ACCEPTED at Farmers Market Drop-off due to making the bins hard to clean
  • Ashes from the fireplace, grill or fire pit: wood ash (no charcoal ash)
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Cardboard (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  • Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Compostable plastics including bags, utensils and drinking cups, must be BPI certified compostable **
  • Cotton balls, cotton swabs (with cardboard sticks)
  • Crepe paper streamers
  • Crumbs from the counter and floors
  • Dead houseplants and their soil
  • Dog wastes collected in compostable plastic bags* – NOT ACCEPTED at Farmers Market Drop-off
  • Droppings and bedding from rabbit/gerbil/hamsters*
  • Dryer lint
  • Eggshells
  • Feathers
  • Flowers
  • Fur from the dog or cat (if not treated with insecticides)
  • Hair
  • Leaves trimmed from houseplants
  • Melted ice cream
  • Moldy cheese
  • Nail clippings
  • Natural fiber string and rope
  • Natural holiday wreaths, garlands*
  • Natural potpourri
  • Newspapers (shredded or torn into small pieces)
  • Newspaper and droppings from the bottom of bird cages
  • Nuts and shells
  • Old condiments from the fridge
  • Old herbs and spices
  • Old loofahs and natural sponges
  • Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
  • Paper cupcake or muffin liners
  • Paper egg cartons
  • Paper labels from jars and cans
  • Paper napkins, paper towels
  • Paper tablecloths (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  • Paper towel rolls, ripped up
  • Parchment paper*
  • Pencil shavings
  • Pet food and treats
  • Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
  • Popsicle sticks*
  • Raffia
  • Rawhide dog chews (abandoned)
  • Shredded paper, paper scraps
  • Soap slivers
  • Sticky notes
  • Tea bags (if not synthetic)
  • Tissues
  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Toothpicks
  • Unpopped popcorn
  • Used paper plates (if not plastic lined as indicated by a slick, shiny surface)
  • Waxed paper*
  • Wheat, pine or other plant-based cat litter*- Pet wastes NOT ACCEPTED at Farmers Market Drop-off
  • Wine corks (natural cork, not plastic)
  • Wooden coffee stirrers*
  • Wooden disposable chop sticks*

*These materials are most successfully composted in an industrial composting facility like Black Bear Composting. The high heat required to safely and/or completely break them down cannot be achieved through backyard composting.

BPI.label.crop**BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) certification for plastic compostables is essential because ” … not all plastics made from plants or marked as biodegradable reliably decompose during the composting process.” – Black Bear Composting

Most fully compostable plant-based plastics will have the symbol at right somewhere on them. Other acceptable symbols indicating complete compostability in a commercial facility include those below, as well as “ASTM D6400.”


Please note the #7 recyclable symbol must have “PLA” under it and NOT “other.”

For food items that are still edible but unwanted, consider donating them to a homeless shelter. If they are no longer suitable for human consumption, consider using as animal food. If that is not feasible, composting is a better option to landfilling or sending to a waste-to-energy facility, in terms of positive environmental impact. (see graphic below)

Clean paper products are best recycled if they cannot be reused. Once soiled or not recyclable, composting is a great option.

What NOT to Compost

  • plastic lined paper products (like almost all paper cups, paper milk cartons, frozen food containers, paper plates with a shiny surface, paper from sugar packets, microwave popcorn bags, and many raisin boxes)
  • rubber and latex items including chewing gum
  • treated wood
  • masking tape and string
  • cash register (thermal) receipts, due to their BPA content they should not go into the paper recycle stream or be composted. BPA-free receipt paper is available and acceptable for paper recycling or composting.
  • herbicide treated plants and manures from animals fed these plants
  • baby wipes
  • dryer sheets

If in doubt, leave it out!



From the Food Waste Reduction Alliance Best Practices Guide 2015