I recently acquired an Earthmachines composting bin and was wondering if the bin could withstand large amounts of loose tea. We drink lots of tea made from loose tea and it can end up as much kitchen scraps in terms of quantity.

I know we can add tea to the compost bin, my question that can we add such large quantities and compost it fine?

2 Answers 2


The only real problem that I see is if it adds too much moisture. To counteract this, you can make sure to add plenty of bulky carbon material ("browns"): sawdust, newspaper, dry autumn leaves, etc.

If you find that it makes your compost too wet, you could always just pit-compost the tea. That way the liquid has a chance to drain away into the soil, and you just need to occasionally cover the tea with a bit of soil or "brown" material.

  • 1
    not worried about the tannins? May 6, 2013 at 3:49
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    I compost leaves and wood, which are (as far as I know) full of tannins, and I don't have any problems there. I would guess that the biology of the compost pile breaks them down or puts them to use like almost everything else. But I'm not a chemist -- if there's something about tannins we should be worrying about, please do post a separate answer.
    – bstpierre
    May 6, 2013 at 11:54
  • C:N ratio would be the other thing I might be concerned about?
    – winwaed
    May 7, 2013 at 16:25
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    @winwaed: true, but excess moisture will be the thing to fix first, and adding dry bulk (paper, sawdust) will tend to raise C; if the remainder is tea and kitchen scraps it will probably balance out. Worst case (assuming moisture is handled) would be too much C, which will just slow things down and shouldn't cause the compost to get nasty.
    – bstpierre
    May 8, 2013 at 1:50

Because the tannins are asked about, here's just a quick answer to that.

It won't overload your compost pile. The compost is likely to be relatively acidic and will likely lower the pH of the soil you put it into.

I would second the suggestion of pit composting though. One real advantage of pit composting is that it gives you a little more control over where the acids get deposited. For example, you could compost in place around acid-loving plants....

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