Can You Compost Different Grains and Carbohydrates?

It always feels wasteful to throw over stale, leftover bread or other carbohydrates. Can you compost it instead?

As a general rule, most carbohydrates and grains can be composted. 

When it comes to composting grains, such as pasta, bread, and rice, the most common concern is that it will attract pests, like rodents. Let’s take a quick look at some grain products to see if they should be added to your compost.

If you’re curious about bread in particular, we have a dedicated article about it.

Green or Brown Material?

Despite appearances, stale bread, crackers, and other carbohydrates are classified as green compost, also known as nitrogen-rich material. Brown compost, on the other hand, refers to carbon-rich material. Brown materials include leaves, branches, cardboard, and newspaper.

When creating a compost pile, remember that you want a 2-to-1 ratio of brown materials to green materials. 

How to Minimize the Risk of Pests

The most common issue is that the grains may attract pests. One way to reduce the risk of attracting them is to bury these wastes deeper into the pile, where pests can’t smell them. Using a secure bin will, of course, also help solve this problem. The more brown materials you add, the fewer problems you will encounter.

Bagels and Muffins

Just like bread, bagels and muffins decompose well. Try to break them into small pieces to accelerate the process. Remember that it is not just bagels and muffins that attract rodents—whatever you put onto them will also smell enticing. Cream cheese, butter, or cheese is likely to bring unwanted attention to your compost.

A box full of donuts

Potato Tops

Potato tops will decompose like any other carbohydrate. However, you may want to be careful.

Because potato tops are frequently infected with blight, composting them may incorporate disease or fungal spores, which do not break down during the composting cycle.

If you use the resulting compost on crops in the Solanacea family, such as eggplants, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers, there is a risk of disease transmission to the following year’s plantings. 


You can generally compost leftover pizza. But if you have a very meaty or cheesy pizza, you might want to reconsider. Putting a lot of meat or dairy, both of which have a strong scent, into your compost bin can attract unwanted pests.

You can also compost pizza boxes, but they will be brown material.


Pasta, whether raw or cooked, is generally compostable. While adding plain pasta to your compost is generally safe, pasta that is covered with other food items, such as meat, cheese, and vegetables, can be a concern. 

Meat and dairy, in particular, can produce a foul odor that attracts a variety of pests. They can also lead to poor aeration and too much of the wrong kind of bacteria. So before tossing leftover pasta onto the compost pile, consider rinsing it to remove any accumulated sauce.

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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