fabric scraps in compost pile?

treeinnj(6)October 17, 2007

In addition to being a newbie mini-gardener/composter, I am also an avid quilter. I use 100% cotton fabrics - and have lots of little bitty pieces - like 1/4" or less wide by several inches long (the raggedy edges).

Anyone have any luck w/cotton fabric scraps turned to compost? Was just hoping I could add one more thing to my list of compostable items - and thinking that it was originally plant material.

[Of course I do have tons of leaves in the woodlands area in my backyard but nothing to shred them with - thinking of just piling them up as is w/some nitro source.]

Thanks, Tree

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Throw them in! I tossed in a pair of jeans & a denim purse last year & they are both gone!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 2:05PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I too have thrown jeans in my compost (cut up in pieces), and I also throw in cotton socks and underwear.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 3:48PM
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Thanks so much! Just what I was hoping to hear! That is awesome :)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 4:48PM
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I topped the pile with an old wool sweater once. The coon thought it was too good to pass up, but as he tried to abscond with it, it hitched to the metal fence, and the coon left empty handed. The sweater is gone now, composted.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 11:59PM
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Cotton scraps are a great addition to the compost.
The only stuff we seem to throw out in the trash is plastic and that is only if it is not re-usable or re-cyclable in some way.
Paper is compostable too though glossy stuff doesn't compost so well due to the coatings on it (often close to plastic.)

Leaves don't have to be shredded to compost, they just do it faster if shredded.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:54AM
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I threw a number of clothing items and towels in my pile, its kinda kewl to find the "stitches" or other leftover pieces that dont rot.

I found a whole long string from the seam of DD's stretchy pants.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 4:13AM
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Natural fibers, Cotton, Wool, Flax, etc. are good types of things to add to the compost pile, but the synthetics, Dacron, Rayon, Nylon, etc. are not.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 6:51AM
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Demeter(z6 NJ)

A kind of weird thing is if you throw in a poly/cotton T-shirt. The cotton composts out, and you find a ghostly T-shirt shaped polyester webbing.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 5:55PM
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warhawk_grad(z4a WI)

Old clothes then would be treated as a carbon source, i.e. a "brown"?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 12:27PM
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Demeter(z6 NJ)

Depends on the fabric. Plant fibers (cotton, linen) are browns. Animal fibers (silk, wool, angora, etc.) are slow-release greens.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 3:16PM
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annebert(6b/7a MD)

Rayon is actually wood cellulose. I think it would compost.
My clothes are almost all natural fibers and after they are no longer good as cleaning rags, they go in the pile.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 4:56PM
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Most of my clothing and fabric gets used or reused somehow. I give it away if I can't wear it or don't want it anymore. If it wears out, it becomes cleaning rags. Beyond that, it goes into the compost bin.

I used to quilt and sew. When I get a new sewing machine, I'll take it up again and make sure to keep the fabric scraps and stray threads, although the fabric scraps get sorted to filter out anything that can first be used for scrap quilts.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 11:11PM
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Dear Lilacs in May,
When I get done digging boulders out of the "beds" I'll get back to my quilting :) . . . there is a season for everything . . .

I love scrap quilts, but I still have lots of selvages & just scraps that I know I'll never use & don't want to keep track of.

All the Best,

    Bookmark   October 21, 2007 at 7:34PM
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If they are just small scraps, you can also put them in strategic places for birds to find in late winter. I included a link to another thread (ha) on the subject. It's quite a treat to find a nest with scraps of your latest project in it! Of course, natural fibers are best, but others can also work as long as they don't degrade into long, nonbiodegradeable string that can injure or kill a chick.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fabric Scraps for Birds

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 11:50PM
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I'm so glad to hear all of this info. I have a handful of denim I just couldn't throw into the plastic garbage bag

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 1:23PM
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