Can You Compost Nail Clippings?

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 nail clippings compostable?”, “how do I do it?” and “how long will they take to compost?”: you’ve come to the right place.

Can you put nail clippings in the compost?

Yes, nail clippings are compostable. Adding nail clippings 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 organic materials in the appropriate roadside collection bin but biodegradable materials like nail clippings are better off being in a compost pile.

Disposing of organic or compostable waste like organic 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 nail clippings

You should soak the clippings in water before burying them in your pile both to soften them and make them easier to break down.

As a brown material, you should be adding nail clippings 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 nail clippings take to compost?

It takes up to 3 years for nail clippings to completely decompose in a compost. Because they take a long time to break down, you should avoid putting too many in at once.

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

Are nail clippings a green or brown material?

Nail clippings should be considered a brown material when composting.

Materials that are brown, like nail clippings, 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 nail clippings to add bulk and structure to the pile.

Will composting them attract pests?

No. Nail clippings will not attract pests.

Composting considerations

When composting nail clippings, you should avoid adding acrylic or fake nails to your pile as they will not biodegrade.

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, his and fussing his dog Pepper.

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