Items to ‘never’ compost as they’ll ‘invite pests to poo in gardens’

Many items that are thought to be common in compost piles can slow the decomposition process down, while others attract rodents and unwanted pests. Plus, if that wasn’t enough, some can even infect the pile and aid in spreading disease throughout the garden. To avoid this happening, gardening expert Fiona Jenkins at has shared six items to never add to compost heaps.

Greasy or oily foods 

A compost heap will need to have certain levels of moisture so that the items can decompose properly. Grease and oils can alter the moisture balance in the compost pile.

With this in mind, it’s important to avoid placing greasy or oily items on the compost heap. Fiona claimed: “Insects and other pests are also attracted to the smell of grease.” 

Adding fat, or greasy foods with heavy cooking oil to a pile is like putting a welcome mat out for pests. 

Mice and rats are easily attracted to piles that are greasy and fatty. In addition, all of that fat and grease can cause extremely foul odours.

Meat and milk products

Meat and milk products are biodegradable, however, the expert said that gardeners “should never add them” to their garden compost pile. Along the same lines as fat, grease and oil, meats are a big no-no for composting.

Fiona explained: “These items can attract a variety of unwanted pests. These pests can cause damage to your garden and are often a big nuisance. Plus, unwanted pests could leave you with some additional unwanted gifts as it invites pests to poo in your garden.”

Cats in particular are attracted to yoghurt and milk because of the fats and protein that they can sense and smell within the dairy products.

Leather products

Gardeners should “avoid” placing leather on their compost pile. This is due to the oil finishes and various other chemical ingredients. 

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The expert said: “Things like dyes, additives and chemical tanning agents can be very damaging to the compost pile and can harm plants. 

“The additives in leather products will also mean that leather will take a very long time to decompose.” With this in mind, it’s best to avoid placing leather products on the compost pile altogether.

Paper with a lot of colour

Paper with a lot of coloured printer ink on it or paper with marker pen markings on it should not be placed in the compost bin. 

Fiona claimed that anything with a lot of ink on it could contain metals and other toxins that could “contaminate” the compost.

Human or pet waste

Although human and pet wastes are organic, it’s important to consider what a compost pile is going to be used for. 

Gardeners need to ask themselves if they really want to spread waste all over their gardens in the future. In addition, pet and human waste come with terrible smells. 

For those who don’t want their garden to stink, “avoid these items” on the compost pile. Certain waste can also create a health risk, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Baked goods and cooked grains

Things such as cookies, cakes and other baked goods should not be placed on compost heaps. 

The gardening pro said: “These items can attract unwanted pests to your garden, similar to meat and milk products. 

“Sweet baked goods can also attract a range of unwanted insects such as ants and wasps.”

Cooked rice is especially notorious for growing bad bacteria in a compost pile.

Plain bread that’s stale and hard (the only type of bread gardeners should compost), and uncooked rice and pasta can be composted in moderation. Just be sure to bury it as deeply as possible.

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