Holiday Composting Tips (WFAA Channel 8)

Almost 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With holiday parties coming soon, along with the extra trash produced during gift-giving season, it’s a good opportunity to see how we can recycle some of these materials. One of the best ways to recycle food waste is by composting. Compost adds key nutrients back into the soil, helps prevent water loss, and controls weeds in your yard.  

During our latest segment on WFAA Channel 8, Water Expert Denise Hickey and Texas A&M AgriLife Horticulturalist Patrick Dickinson offered some key tips for composting leftover holiday materials.

Composting Dos

In general, if it came out of the ground, chances are it can be composted. When it comes to larger holiday décor like Christmas trees, most cities also have a service to pick up trees/brush and turn these into compost and mulch as well. Try adding these to your compost pile:

  • Smashed-up pumpkins, for quicker composting
  • Leftover beer or wine, to provide vital moisture to your pile
  • Poinsettias and mums, to provide nutrients for other buds next Spring
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, the perfect compost contribution
  • Paper and cardboard like paper towel and toilet paper rolls, which compost well

Not everything, though, is compost-friendly. Avoid the following items if you want a successful batch of compost.

Composting Don’ts

  • Proteins. Meat and its cousins require a commercial composting process
  • Processed sugars from candy and desserts since they attract unwanted guests like rodents
  • Giftwrap and other foil and plastic items.

In addition to brewing up your own perfect batch of compost for the coming year, be sure to shut off the sprinkler system while your lawn is dormant (check out for best irrigation timing), and you’ll have a great head start on Spring. For more instructions and free classes on how, when and what to compost, visit

Tune in on Nov. 11 at 7:45 AM for our next WFAA segment with Denise and Patrick to learn all about selecting the right trees for your yard.