Can You Compost Bread?

What to do with stale bread that is going bad? Can it be composted?

Bread Is Compostable

The short answer: Yes, bread can be composted.

Compost is made up of organic matter that has broken down. It is highly valued as a soil supplement that provides plants with additional nutrients.

Bread is an organic waste product that decomposes swiftly and contributes nitrogen to the soil. However, some composters dislike it because it attracts bugs.

Most people agree that fresh bread should not be added to your pile. The bread should be stale, torn into little pieces, and placed in the compost pile’s center, well covered.

Reasons to Add It

To put it simply, bread is organic matter that can be “recycled.” If you have a lot of it that gets thrown away, composting it can be a better option for you.

Unlike other types of food waste, such as dairy products, it will not upset the compost pile’s balance or slow down the composting process.

It will simply wind up in a landfill if it is thrown away. Food waste is a serious issue in the United States, with up to 40% of food never being consumed. For some, this is sufficient motivation to take the necessary measures to recycle it as compost.

Bread decomposes extremely quickly. Shred it into the little pieces, and all it needs is a little moisture for quick decomposition.

mix of compostable food waste in a container

Reasons to Not Do Add It

The most compelling argument against composting bread is the possibility of attracting wildlife and insects.

While bread can attract pests to your compost, there are techniques to keep them at bay. Composting it doesn’t have to be a source of stress if you plan ahead and prepare properly.

Placing it into the center of an outdoor compost pile and covering it completely with brown materials to decrease or eliminate the odor keeps rodents and insects away.

Pests will also be less likely to find your appetizing food scraps if you compost in an enclosed bin or a compost container with a lid. 

Can I Add Stale Bread?

The answer: A resounding yes!

In fact, if you are adding bread, it is actually better to throw it out when it’s stale or moldy. Keep reading to find out more. 

Can I Add Moldy Pieces?

Moldy food can be thrown into a backyard composting bin at any time. Mold cells are one of several microorganisms that help with decomposition. They are safe to have in a waste bin.

If you’re going to use a worm bin, you’ll need to be a little more cautious. Some molds can produce weak antibiotic compounds when kept at low temperatures. When worms eat these substances, they may destroy some or all of the helpful (and needed) microbes in the digestive tract. This can sicken and kill the worms.

If you’re unsure about using moldy bread, start with a modest amount and see if the worms are bothered. If not, it’s usually fine to use; otherwise, throw it into the regular garbage bin.

Slices of bread with molds

Is Bread Considered Green or Brown?

Even though stale bagels, crackers, and chips have a brown hue, they are considered green material. Green materials don’t have to be green; it just means they are rich in nitrogen

Brown material usually refers to carbon-rich material.

Remember that roughly a third of your compost pile should be green materials.

Best Ways to Add Bread to Your Pile

  • Split the difference. It will decompose faster if you break down the bread into tiny pieces before adding it to your compost. Animals will be less likely to be drawn to your pile as a result of this.
  • Dig a hole in the middle of your compost mound. This is where the temperature is highest and decomposition happens fastest. Nitrogen-rich food scraps will break down quickly if put into the middle of the pile, giving pests less time to find it.
  • Cover it completely. Make a layer over the bread using high-carbon materials like sawdust or dried leaves. If you have a healthy balance of carbon and nitrogen ingredients in your compost, decomposition will happen more quickly.
  • Increase the rate of breakdown. If you want to help nature even more, sprinkle some garden soil, manure, or finished compost on top of the bread to help it decompose faster.
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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