In the UK, you can compost a wide variety of plants and food waste. Here are some examples:

Plants and natural materials:

  • Grass cuttings
  • Leaves
  • Prunings
  • Flowers
  • Weeds (excluding perennial weeds like bindweed and ground elder)
  • Sawdust and wood shavings (from untreated wood)
  • Bark
  • Twigs and small branches (chopped into small pieces)
  • Plant stems (chopped into small pieces)
  • Wood ash (in moderation)
  • Seaweed and kelp
  • Manure from herbivores (e.g. horses, cows, rabbits)
  • Straw and hay
  • Shredded paper and cardboard (without inks or dyes)
  • Fallen fruit
  • Spent plants from vegetable gardens and annual flower beds

What is a perennial weed?

A perennial weed is a type of weed that grows back year after year, often from the same root system. Unlike annual weeds, which complete their life cycle in one growing season, perennial weeds can live for multiple years and can be difficult to control.

Some examples of perennial weeds commonly found in the UK include:

  • Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
  • Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
  • Dock (Rumex spp.)
  • Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica)

Perennial weeds can be particularly problematic in gardens and agricultural settings because they can compete with desirable plants for nutrients, water, and light. They can also be difficult to eradicate completely, as their deep root systems can survive attempts to remove them. It’s often best to tackle perennial weeds early and consistently to prevent them from establishing a stronghold.


  • Fruit and vegetable scraps (including peelings)
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee grounds
  • Eggshells
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Nuts and seeds (including shells)
  • Fallen fruit

However, there are some items that you should avoid putting on your compost heap, as they can attract pests or take a long time to break down. These include:

  • Meat and fish (including bones)
  • Dairy products
  • Fats and oils
  • Cooked food (including leftovers)
  • Diseased plants
  • Perennial weeds (like bindweed and ground elder)
  • Pet waste

Remember to also mix your green and brown materials, and keep your compost heap moist and well-aerated for best results.