So you’re thinking of starting a compost pile to reduce your waste. Great! But can you compost cotton? Absolutely!
Since cotton is completely biodegradable, it makes a perfect addition to your compost pile. But first, here are some benefits of composting from the EPA:
- Enriches soil by helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests
- Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers
- Encourages the products of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus
- Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprints
As we mentioned earlier, cotton can absolutely be composted. However, make sure to look for the cotton seal to ensure you are composting actual cotton and not synthetic materials masked as “cotton”. While your baby wipe or cosmetic wipe may appear as cotton, not all wipes are created equal.
This also goes for cotton clothing that is no longer in use. If the fabric is 100% cotton, rip it into strips, stack the strips, and cut them into small squares. Cotton will help retain moisture in the soil keep the plants from drying out. Collect the small squares and mix them in the soil, 2 parts soil to 1 part fabric. Note: You cannot compost acrylic yarns, nylon, or microfiber fleece.
Products like cotton balls, cotton swabs, and cotton used for skin care may also be composted. As long as the cotton swab handles are made of paper (and not plastic) they are good to go into your bin. Cotton used for makeup removal or skin care regimens depend on what is actually on the cotton pad. Natural astringents like witch hazel or rose water, and mineral-based makeup may go into your compost. However, makeup made from synthetic ingredients shouldn’t go into your compost bin.
Completely Waste Free
Speaking of reducing waste, did you know that virtually nothing is wasted during cotton harvesting; every part of the plant is utilized. In the case of cotton, what comes from nature can be returned to it! The cotton plant is used to make things like cottonseed oil and animal feed.
Cotton is a versatile, natural product; this makes it a perfect addition to your compost pile. Cotton will actually benefit your pile, since cotton retains moisture in the soil. Be sure the cotton you are putting into your bin is 100% pure cotton, which always comes with the cotton seal.