10 surprising things you can compost

An increasing number of gardeners in the Starts at 60 community are declaring their love the compost bin; the simple joys of disposing of scraps without guilt for the environment; the strange thrill of seeing that pile magically decrease with each day as your garden absorbs its scrappy goodness.

But are you using it to its full potential? Could the next thing you put in the bin be composted instead?

By some accounts, up to half of what you throw away could instead be composted. Here are ten of the more surprising things you can safely compost, courtesy of Down to Earth Mother:

Floor residue
A great deal of the dust and dirt you sweep up will have a far happier life in your garden.

Human hair, pet hair, the grotesque balls of hair clogging your shower drain; all completely compostable.

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Old nappies and tea towels are perfect.

If newspapers and office papers aren’t going into the recycle bin, there’s a quicker, easier way to ensure it goes toward a good cause.

Pasta and rice
Provided it’s plain and cooked, your leftovers will decompose like a dream. 

Cardboard and toilet rolls
As always, be sure to tear or fold them up first.

Cotton wool and buds
A great deal of bathroom bin items can easily be composted here.

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Toothpicks and skewers
Just try not to impale any worms.

Champagne corks
Cork is completely biodegradable, making it ideal garden fodder.

This last item is perhaps the most surprising of all. For the hands-on gardeners attempting hot composting, a carcass will give you the chance to generate heat and massively speed up the composting process.

Which of these items are you composting? Is there anything more you would add to the list?