Can You Compost Matches?

There are many things that can go in your compost bin. It’s not just for leftovers and other organic waste that can’t be thrown away any other way. Even if something doesn’t seem like it would break down easily, if it was alive at one point and is made of plant materials, you can probably compost it.

Although, there are some things that will keep your compost from working well. If you want to get the most out of your compost, you should avoid putting certain things in it.

If you’ve found yourself wondering “are matches compostable?”, “how do I do it?” and “how long will they take to compost?”: you’ve come to the right place.

Can you put matches in the compost?

Yes, matches are compostable. Adding matches to your compost pile will contribute to creating a nutrient-rich fertiliser that you can use in your garden.

Can you put them in the waste bin?

If you don’t have a compost bin, you can put woody materials in the appropriate roadside collection bin but biodegradable materials like matches are better off being in a compost pile.

Disposing of organic or compostable waste like woody materials in landfill can contribute to the release of potent greenhouse gases like methane, which has around 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Methane emissions are significantly reduced by composting suitable food waste and organic materials.

How to compost matches

You should snap the matches into smaller sticks before composting them to speed up decomposition.

As a brown material, you should be adding matches and other brown carbon-rich materials then a layer of green to cover it. Remember to use a garden fork or a stick to poke holes in your compost every couple of weeks to mix the pile up.

How long will matches take to compost?

It takes up to 6 months for matches to completely decompose in a compost. Because they take a while to break down, you should avoid putting too many in at once.

Matches discarded on the ground or buried in the ground will take longer to decompose.

Are matches a green or brown material?

Matches should be considered a brown material when composting.

Materials that are brown, like matches, are often more dry solid and woody; and are a source of carbon (one of the four essential ingredients) for your compost. Harder brown materials create air pockets that provide oxygen for the microorganisms breaking the compost pile down.

Composts rely on brown materials like matches to add bulk and structure to the pile.

Will composting them attract pests?

No. Matches will not attract pests.

Composting considerations

When composting matches, you should avoid adding unused matches unless they’ve been soaked in water first to render them unusable.

Omar Agor-Wood
Omar Agor-Wood

Omar is a digital marketer by day for one of the UK's largest environmental consultancy companies, and is writing like the world depends on it for Pick Ethical at night. He has a passion for hiking, bouldering, and making a fuss of his dog.

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