If it grows, it goes, for composting

A neighbor of mine just emailed me to ask if shellfish shells can go in the City of Austin curbside compost carts.


The little mantra/quote I want you to remember is “If it grows, it goes!” If the plant or animal bits or byproduct (honey, milk, cheese, eggs, etc.) are from a natural item, it can go in the compost cart.

Roots, fruits, leaves, seeds, etc. from produce can go.

Meat (cooked or raw), bones, cheese, eggs and their shells, milk, shellfish shells, skin, etc. can go in.

If something is considered a food, like vegan cheese or meat, the “cheese”/”meat” itself is allowed in compost though it’s not a naturally occurring byproduct of a plant or animal. Processing was involved to make the nuts or other ingredients into food item.

Please remember to dump the food or plant out of its original container (unless the container is a certified compostable container) before you put said item in the compost carts. Freezer bags of veggies and other similar items occasionally end up in compost carts, bags and containers are contaminants, and the City of Austin gets charged for that mistake/contamination.

You’ll need to check with your local community garden, farmer’s market or research/experiment with backyard composting to see if items like shells will break down. Typically because the aforementioned types do not get as hot as commercial compost facilities, items like shells and bones are discouraged to reduce pest interest.

Healthy eating!

Featured photo courtesy of Laurene Jacob.

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