Brown, Carbon Materials For Composting

  • Ashes, wood
  • Cardboard (shredded)
  • Corn stalks
  • Dryer lint
  • Fruit scraps
  • Leaves
  • Newspaper (shredded)
  • Peanut shells
  • Pine needles
  • Sawdust
  • Straw
  • Wood chips

When you first think of composting, do you think of any of these items on the list? I know when I first started getting into composting, I thought it was going to be a great way for me to get rid of the food waste in my kitchen. Instead of just tossing it down the drain or into the garbage, I could turn my fruits and vegetables into compost to help fertilize my garden. However, as I began to do more research, I learned that there is so much more to composting than just collecting the leftover food scraps from every meal. These brown materials are largely composed of carbon, which is an essential ingredient in a healthy composting recipe. If you’re ready to make your own compost or have been failing to succeed in your endeavors thus far, remember to add these brown, carbon materials at a 25-30:1 ratio to the green, nitrogen materials you’ll often find in the kitchen.

How Carbon Materials Help Decompose

The brown materials are made up of things largely composed of carbon. Carbon is the energy source for the compost pile. It’s what gives the composting microorganisms life inside that bin. Without a carbon source, the pile of food waste would sit in the bin doing nothing but getting stinky. They would decompose eventually, but it would take ages!

Instead, the carbon puts a pep in the composting step to expedite the process. With a proper amount of carbon, that is the 25-30:1 ratio, the compost pile will turn from a combination of the various materials into a nutrient-rich soil that can replace the earth’s natural elements when returned.

However, there is such a thing as having too many carbon materials in a compost pile. When there is too much carbon in the pile, there is not enough fresh substance to keep the carbon “fed”. This can decrease the speed of decomposition, which will essentially leave you with a pile of dry rubbish… but at least it won’t be stinky!

Earth 2 Earth Provides Necessary Brown, Carbon Materials

In our Digital Age, it can be hard to come by some of the household items on the list that don’t seem to make their way into every household these days, such as the newspaper for example. And if you live in an apartment, chances are you don’t have a lot of sawdust, straw, pine needles, or wood chips lying around. These small hurdles shouldn’t stop you from making your own compost.

Earth 2 Earth provides every customer with a bag full of brown, carbon materials you need to start composting, and hopefully in the future, we will have enough materials on hand for you to continue to purchase as you need. Our mixture of brown materials includes peat moss and pine needles. It’ll be enough to get you started as you add in your own green, nitrogen materials. This combination of carbon materials can readily mix with common green, nitrogen materials as you kick start your in-house composting unit.

Short And Sweet

To keep it simple, your compost mix should be a consistent ratio of 25-30:1, brown to green materials respectively. Brown materials are those rich in carbon, which provides the active decomposing bacteria that breaks down the green organic matter found in the nitrogen sources.

An easy way to remember which materials are considered rich carbon sources is to think of them as brown materials because they are typically drier than the green materials, which are generally fresher and wetter.