I've found a lot of empty and broken hazelnut shells lying under huge hazelnut shrub. (Most of them were eaten by squirrels but some have worm holes). Is it safe to use them for composting (maybe grinding them would speed up the process)? Or they can be used for mulching because they seem to last long?

6 Answers 6


If you have enough, try using them for mulch on a pathway. They last a long time, are a durable mulch, and make a lovely sound. In the Northwest US you can actually purchase bags of hazelnut shells to use on your pathways.


Yes you can use them for composting, with good composting conditions (greens, browns, temperature, and moisture) they should be no problem for the micro-organisms responsible for composting.

However, some people advice not to put seeds in your compost. This is because of the obvious reason that the seeds can germinate when using the final compost for other plants. For me, I don't mind that, in my compost there are still some seeds left from fruits or other crops. I remove 'bad weeds' anyway in the growing season.


Hazelnut and many other tree nut shells are packed with BTUs. If you have a wood stove, try tossing them in.

See the following web page for examples: https://www.harvesttimeshells.com/half_shell.html

It notes that hazelnut shells can be used for mulch, with the following qualities:

  • Holds moisture, keeping potted plants & flowerbeds moist
  • Keeps weeds down​​
  • Adds beautiful color
  • 100% Renewable​​​​, All Natural & Sustainable​ [depending on your source/methods]
  • Compacts Well​​
  • Lasts 5-7 Years​​

It also mentions hazelnut shells as fuel:

  • Burns at 8,500 BTU's per pound​​
  • Burns Clean, Little Ash​​
  • Use in Wood Stoves & Fireplaces​​​​

Or you can use empty hazelnut shells for cheese smoking. It is well known that hazelnut shells are one of the best smoke sources for that purpose.

Many famous cheeses have their "smoked" versions, like:

  • Gouda
  • Provolone
  • Scamorza
  • Cheddar

...and they are as a rule even more appreciated than their basic version.

Many delicious dishes can be made using smoked cheese. Here is a recipe for smoked cheddar souffle.

  • 2
    Whoa!! Never heard about using hazel nut shell casings as smoke! I have to say I hate walkways made with these things cause I am a barefoot idiot. I've installed them, had them ground a second time and they looked better, always with landscape fabric beneath...lasts a long time.
    – stormy
    Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 1:59

you can grind them up and use them for sandblasting delicate surfaces

  • I've heard about that usage but do you care to expand your answer? What kind of materials can be blasted with ground shells? (I know sand is usually used to remove corrosion on metal objects). Commented Nov 14, 2017 at 14:01

False Identity, ... I used to do work as an automotive machinist, remanufacturing dead engines for cars, ... We’d take them in, remove, & disassemble the motor, and put all f the relevant parts into a hot tank overnite, to cook the oils, & carbon off of the engines components, then rinse them down, & remove any remaining carbon deposits, manually, & after everything has been blow dried, the inspection process begins, all of the pieces required to make the valves work as they should in the cylinder head(s), are tossed into a lock basket that is used much in the same manner as a rock polisher, ... by spinning the basket over, & over with little steel pellets that clean every last bit of carbon from those items, ... & then by checking the empty cyl heads for square, inspecting, & sizing the valve guides, and seats, & the cylinder heads for any cracks, ... the process of repair/replace/renew the factory specs, ... even cracked heads would be saved by a “hot” pinning process, (some were destined to just be boat anchors), ... & new seats would be installed as to be applicable for said engine, & it’s future usage, ... after the cylinder heads are repaired/replaced as to the manufacturer’s specs, the engine block would receive the same treatment, by boring, & honing the cylinder walls back true, in some instances, the cylinder wall may have had to be replaced with a sleeve, (which would be secured in the block, by the cylinder head,& then bored, honed back to be equal to whatever size the rest of the cylinders are), ... so that there is no disparity between the cylinders in compression, ... all cylinders would be refitted with the same sizes of new pistons, & rings to achieve this value, ...

So, getting back to the value of using nuts, in a sand blaster, ... this method that I have used, required me to obtain ground walnut shells, ... for a very polished surface, by sandblasting the flat, & contoured surfaces of any given object, ... & I can say without a doubt, that it gives such a mirrored finish, that you would need to be extremely careful about trying to do such on a bright & sunny day, ... as going blind is not on my bucket list, ... I have only used it on some valves for a very powerful 400 Chevy engine that we jacked up to 650 hp, ... it lasted for a whole season, of jet boat racing, ... & then the owner bought a newer boat, ... what he had been doing @ 7,500 rpm, he was now getting at 3450 rpm, ... he actually got scared the 1st time he got behind the wheel of that boat, ... it was much more powerful than he had expected, (this was about 28-30 years ago & it was a lot of fun, but no $ in all of the knowledge I had acquired, so I left the field of employment, & moved on, Lmbo!!!

Oh, & btw, the oils in the shell fragments would stain your hands, clothes, & anything else they got on, ...so it would be wise to use, only in an enclosed area, with proper ventilation, and air filtration, to protect, yourself & others, ... and I would advise also, to wear protective disposable suit, while working, in/around this stuff, because the particles get smaller, & smaller, & inhalation of the bits & pieces of these things can be fatal if you do not take proper precautions, ...

  • Hello @Themaninthemune I am not sure your answer is relevant to the question at hand. At least I could not find the relevance. Why not shorten your answer up. Focus on the question, 'Is it safe to use them for composting? Or can they be used for mulching...?'
    – GardenGems
    Commented Dec 27, 2019 at 3:09

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