Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Its OK, it was meant to. And I wasn’t wearing them at the time.

You might remember that when I re-started my compost back in early February I was experimenting with composting a few things other than garden waste and kitchen scraps.

Jeans buried in the compost, early February 2010

Vacuum cleaner dust has been successful as it is so fine and contains hair, which is supposed to be a great compost addition. The worst thing that could happen is that a couple of pieces of Lego will emerge in the garden at some stage, but that will give the archeologists something to puzzle over.

The jeans, that were torn and no use to pass on to anyone else went in ‘as is’. I thought it might take a year or so for them to break down and I was ok with that, as I knew it would take us some time to fill the bin. But the compost has been rocketing along and within about two and a half months the jeans have been reduced to this…

Jeans well on their way to decomposing April 30th 2010

The fabric falls apart as soon as it is touched. Soon I’ll just have to fish out the zipper and that will be that.

I had also put in some of my daughter’s threadbare cotton pyjamas. All that was left of them today was the elastic waistband!

My only real problem with the compost is that we’re not producing enough to fill up the bin (and I can’t fill it up entirely with old clothes!) I’ve added some grass clippings, but as ours is the dreaded Couch/Bermuda grass I’m hesitant as everything I’ve read says to avoid putting running weeds in the compost unless you know for sure it’s going to be hot enough to cook.

There will be some autumn leaves to add soon at least. Now that it’s getting cooler the compostΒ  will slow down a little, but I’ll keep adding and turning and thinking of the day I’ll have some lovely rich compost to add to the garden!

Has anyone else had success with – or have ideas for – composting other unusual items?

Other than something that might constitute ‘evidence’ that is πŸ˜‰


Comments on: "The Compost Ate My Jeans!" (34)

  1. Good morning. Really cool on composting your jeans. Never thought of putting clothes in a compost bin. Some other things you might have are shredded paper, seashells (like from clams and lobsters) and of course plant debris. I think I’d trash my Bermuda grass as well. I always throw the bad weeds somewhere else (dandelions and stickers). And on your bins filling up, give it time. Before you know it you have a good system going and can keep your bins full. Here I sometimes go and ‘borrow’ my neighbor’s leaves and manure, you’d be amazed how quickly they fill up then.

  2. I never would have thought to put clothes. I don’t have a compost, yet. I do throw stuff on the side of the house. I used to find legos all over the place…:)

  3. Love your site! And our sense of humor! Imagine jeans in the compost? Now I can!

  4. Get out! You composted jeans?!!! And pajamas?!! Who’da thunk it? Amazing post!

    • Hi FG, yep weird though it sounds I’m very proud of my composted clothes…I’m trying to keep as much as I can out of landfill (sady we do still produce a fair bit of rubbish) and the beautiful thing about this is they turn back into something useful!

  5. Ah, well, if you lack compost…the answer is simple! You need chickens! πŸ˜› No really, I’m only slightly joking. The other advantage is that with the waste our hens produce, it rapidly sends any compost pile up to somewhere around thermo-nuclear on the sizzle scale! The only odd thing I’m trying to compost at the moment are some new compostable ‘plastic’ bags and drinking cups (made from corn I think). Just a couple in the pile. I’m curious to see how completely, and how rapidly they degrade. Composting your jeans, or any other natural fiber clothing that is past its prime though, makes a lot of sense. Just not sure I would have thought to do it…but I will now!

    • Hi CV, oh – don’t tempt me – I do sooooo want chickens but I’m just not ready yet!
      When the compost needs watering I do put a bit of ‘used’ water from the duck’s bath in and I think that has helped things move along faster than they would have otherwise, but I know duck water wouldn’t be on the thermo-nuclear scale of chicken waste!
      I’d be interested to hear about the results of your compostable bag experiment as those seem to be cropping up over here too.

  6. Heidi, I’ve heard you can also add dryer lint, newspaper, and paper towels and as an experiment we added some dryer lint in this winter — and I haven’t seen any come out the other side, but we probably haven’t reached that date in the composter’s output yet. Our worm bin gets all the newspaper, shredded as bedding.

    We are disappointed with how small a quantity our compost efforts have actually provided for the garden, too. F. says we need a goat, a cow, and a few chickens and then we’ll be all set, LOL. Not gonna happen, in other words. πŸ˜‰ (Altho I still have chicken lust… but I’m thinking, like, three chickens to have a few eggs kind of thing. Definitely no goats in my immediate future.)

    • Hi Meredith – dryer lint sounds good, but we don’t have a dryer…maybe I could go on a stealth mission down to the local laundromat πŸ˜€
      I’m with you on the chicken lust…but I think a cow might be a bit OTT too for the back yard!

  7. This was really interesting… so much more can be composted than I thought. I found that coffee grounds in paper filters don’t compost at all, despite all the advice that said toss them in. It must be strange to see your wardrobe disappearing like that!

  8. Hi Laurrie – and thanks for the update on coffee grounds. I too have read lots of books that say to toss them in, so it is good to hear the practical results from someone who has already tried it!
    I’m hoping that by tossing in unloved looking clothing my little family might be encouraged to put their clothes away…just in case it gets eaten πŸ˜€

  9. woo…. nvr thought that compost could be this powerful.

  10. I use bacteria for good soil making.
    But I have never seen clothes in compost!
    very interesting!!

  11. Well I’ve heard it all now – I knew about adding men’s urine worked a treat but jeans – thats a new one on me. I had one old timer telling me one day I needed to put my nail cuttings into the compost aswell.

    • Hello Rosie πŸ™‚ Well…the jeans were a little easier to get hold of at the time! I’ve heard nail clippings are a good addition too, but you would sure need a lot of clippings!

  12. Never thought about composting Jeans! LOL I don’t have compost bin. Wanted to have one, but the one I saw is a little too expensive for a compost bin. After all, should a compost bin almost be like a garbage can? Anyway, I tuck the stuff that can be composted under the hedge bush around the house, hope someday I can use them for my flower bed.

    • Hi Ami, compost bins can be pretty expensive; I’m after a second one and have my Mother-in-law on the task of hunting one down at a garage sale. She loves to scour them and always finds the bargains, so hopefully I will be in luck before I fill the first bin!
      It’s great to hear that you are able to compost a bit anyway – I’ve heard that digging a hole a foot or so deep directly in the garden and burying compost in it works wonders too. I’m going to experiment with that if I ever fill the bin!

  13. Wow! That’s great! It was thoughtful of you to think of composting fabrics instead to tossing it in bins like most of us do. I’ll keep this in mind when I make my own compost.

  14. I wish I had a compost bin when I moved in, because yeah, now I don’t have enough stuff to put in it. that said, I hadn’t considered giving my goodwill stuff to the compost bin instead…hmmmmmm. I wonder if the compost bin will eat some of the ugly xmas gifts I got? hmmmmm.

  15. Another way to recycle jeans! My husband just gave me an old worn out pair to dispose of. I will add them to the compost bin and see what happens. 100% cotton; should do well! Thanks for the tip!

  16. I am amazed first that you aimed to compost a pair of jeans, and even more amazed that you successfully have – look at the size of them now. Wow. thank you for sharing. Plus I had never thought about tipping inmy vacuum waste either, so all round appreciated. Thank you.

    • Hello mangocheeks and thanks for visiting πŸ™‚ I’n happy to hear that my strange composting materials are of interest πŸ˜€ I’m trying to keep as much as I can out of the waste stream…only a little bit of success so far!

  17. Very cool, were those Levis? Will you find the little rivets?

  18. Hello Mary, yes they were a pair of Levis I think…so will be fishing out little rivets at some stage!

  19. In Jan, our county gave us big recycling cans and upped the items that we can recycle. Of course my thought was SCORE!! I was always overflowing with the little bin before and my trash was cut in half or more. I then bought a cold composter for my leaves and such and now even my recycling is hardly anything! I have had to catch myself before I throw stuff out and think if I can use it in the composter. I keep looking around the house and try to find more things but I need more food waste! But the other day as my favorite jeans ripped for the last time and are so thread bare I wondered if I could just throw them in…so thanks for this and I will be adding more cotton clothing items as they wear out! So excited to see what all I can use in the composter!

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