So, you got a compost bin — that's excellent! amazon.com Composting enriches soil, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, sparks the production of bacteria that break down organic matter, reduces methane emissions from landfills, and lowers your carbon footprint. YOU'RE DOING AMAZING, SWEETIE. But you're wondering if you're even putting the right items in there — that's normal! Mementoimage / Getty Images If you're also a little confused about, you know, the entire process, we've got you covered with this beginner's guide to composting. Here's a list of everything you can compost, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Itakdalee / Getty Images • Fruits and vegetables• Eggshells• Coffee grounds and filters• Tea bags• Nut shells• Shredded newspaper• Cardboard• Paper• Yard trimmings• Grass clippings• Houseplants• Hay and straw• Leaves• Sawdust• Wood chips• Cotton and wool rags• Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint• Hair and fur• Fireplace ashes And here's a list of everything the EPA says you can't compost (and why): Letterberry / Getty Images • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs: They release substances that might be harmful to plants• Coal or charcoal ash: They might contain substances harmful to plants• Eggs and dairy products (butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt)*: They release odors that attract pests like rodents and flies• Diseased or insect-ridden plants: Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred to other plants• Fats, grease, lard, or oils*: Release odors and attract pests like rodents and flies• Meat or fish bones and scraps*: Release odors and attract pests like rodents and flies• Pet wastes (dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*: They might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to people• Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides: They might kill beneficial composting organisms*Contact your local composting or recycling coordinator to see if these organics are accepted by your community's curbside or drop-off composting program. The EPA reports that food scraps and yard waste currently make up about 30% of what we throw away, sooo let's get out there and compost in 2019, y'all! Sasha_suzi / Getty Images Our planet needs us. As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.