Green Tip of the Week #23 – Composting pet hair and other oddities

composting-with-dog-hair.jpgThis weekend Jody aggressively brushed out our older dog who has been shedding like mad lately. The pile grew larger and larger as he added more and more to it, and I joked that we had enough to make another dog. When he and the dog had had all of the fun they could stand, he looked a little surprised when I told him to knit a sweater throw it all into the composter. I admit I was going out on a limb, but it seemed like a good idea. After all, it’s organic material, surely it couldn’t be bad for the compost heap, right?

I did a little research today to find out that pet hair is acceptable material for the composting, but I probably should have had him break it up into smaller bits. From Organic Gardening, “Human and pet hair can be added in small amounts, if you keep in mind that it breaks down slowly, mats easily, and sheds water.” Oops. Looks like I may be sifting through the pile to remove some of the dog, I mean hair, to add back into the mix at a later date.
Wondering what else can go into your composter? How about shredded newspaper and junk mail? Here are 163 Things You Can Compost (and still counting!).

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

16 thoughts on “Green Tip of the Week #23 – Composting pet hair and other oddities”

  1. Great post! We too do a lot of compost!!! but in a old bath tub LOL!!!! it’s in the back of our garage and it does work wonderfully for us!

    we put everything biodegradable to organic stuff (even plastic grocery bag from the convinience store across the street – they are made to be composted!!!!!)

    My husband have a small pizza shop and we use sugar cane plate (100% compostable!!!!) we do recycle pizza boxe so client could bring them back and we will put their pizza in the boxe that they brough

    So we try to do all kind of little thing to stay green!

  2. I still have dog hair in my compost bin (and thus garden) from 8 years ago. I probably should have added it more slowly, but I’m not sure it’s possible to add it slowly enough. Hope you have better luck!

  3. Thanks for the link to that list of things we can compost. I was just wondering about the “old maid” popcorn kernels the other day!

    And while I forgot to sign up for your shower challenge, I did order one of those timers, and the whole family is using it now. 🙂 Ever since we moved away from the West Coast my water conservation reflex has weakened (know that saying, ‘In the East they take water for granted, in the West they take water from each other?’), so this is a great reminder.

  4. I compost my dog’s hair all of the time and don’t have a problem with it breaking down in my composter. I have a double coated rescue dog that was beaten when he was groomed (and given his long double coat that should have constant brushing, I’m sure this was very often.) While working with my dog to overcome his fear of brushing, I had to do very short grooming sessions with him that yielded about a softball sized wad of hair before the dog would start to stress out and we’d have to stop brushing for the day. If you keep the hair clumps that size or less they will break down in your composter without a problem.

    PS: After years of positive reinforcement training my dog no longer fears the hairbrush. In fact, he gets very happy excited upon hearing the world “brush” because it’s an opportunity for him to earn treats for good behavior.

  5. Another way to reuse/recycle animal hair is to hang it up in some kind of holder in a tree somewhere or leave tucked away in the garden for birds to come and use for their nests!

  6. Have never tried composting hair (pet or human) but I do use it my my garden around those plants that our wildlife love to nibble, especially in the spring around tulips. The human scent is supposed to deter the foragers.

  7. Today when I picked up my daughter from horse camp, I grabbed a few shovel-fulls of shavings and horse poop…Perfect for getting things moving in the compost heap! A wonderful mix of carbons and nitrogens to heat things up a bit.

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