Can You Compost Popcorns?

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In Brief: Can You Compost Popcorns?

Yes, you can compost popcorn. Popcorn, in and of itself, is a type of maize kernel that swells and puffs up when heated. The sturdy hull of the popcorn kernel holds moisture in the seed’s hard, starchy shell endosperm, which converts to steam as the kernel is roasted. Popcorn kernels and popped popcorn can be added to compost.

This detailed guide will take you through simple steps and precautions to take care of composting popcorns.

Let’s get started!

Can You Compost Popcorns?

Popcorn, both popped and unpopped, can be added to your compost pile or bin. Burnt popcorn (burnt kernels and complete pieces) can also be added to your compost bin or pile.

You can put leftover popcorn or a lot of un-popped kernels in the bottom of the bag into the compost pile if you can’t or don’t want to eat them.

Popcorn may be composted because it is a plant seed that has been heated and exploded, removing the majority of its hard shell. Because it is a natural food item, it may easily be composted.

You can put popped popcorn and popcorn kernels in your compost bin; however, the kernels may take a bit to break down, so expect to see them in the mix when you open your compost bin.

You can utilize them in the compost heap instead of dumping them in landfills because they aren’t edible and won’t contribute in any other manner.

How To Compost Popcorns With Ease?

Following these simple steps will help compost popcorns with ease.

  1. Steaming The Kernel – The shell ruptures as the pressure from the steam builds, allowing the kernel to aggressively expand from 20 to 50 times its original size and eventually relax.
  2. Adding Leftovers In Compost – Not all of the corn pops when you pop it into popcorn. When you pop a bag of popcorn, some kernels may not pop at all, while others may become somewhat too burnt to be edible.
  3. Avoiding Salt/Sugar Or Butter – You should be aware that the added sugar or butter in the composted popcorn will attract ants and other pests to the heap.
  4. Bury The Kernels – Try to bury your kernels because they can be a tasty treat for larger birds, chipmunks, and squirrels, and they may devour them, causing problems for you and your composting business.

Smaller birds may have difficulties swallowing the kernels if they eat them.

Can You Compost Popcorn Bags?

No, Popcorn bags may not be compostable. Chemicals are used to coat popcorn bags to prevent oil from soaking through. Some are lined with potentially harmful perfluorinated grease-proofing agents, or C8 compounds, that prevent grease from soaking through.

According to other sources, microwave popcorn bags are covered with a substance that does not decompose throughout the composting process and will eventually contaminate the finished compost.

As a result, these popcorn bags must be thrown in the black trash or waste cart. It’s also important to note that not all microwave bags are created equal.

Those constructed entirely of paper can go in the green bin, indicating that they are recyclable and compostable.

Are Popcorn Bags Biodegradable?

No, Popcorn bags do not decompose with ease as paper does. Popcorn bags are covered with a substance that does not decompose in the composting process and may interfere with the decomposition process.

Because the popcorn (plastic) bags contain perfluorinated carbons (PFCs), they are unlikely to disintegrate naturally.

A microwave popcorn bag cannot be composted. To prevent butter or oil from leaking from the inside to the outside of the bag, most microwave popcorn bags are coated with chemicals, plastic, wax, or all three.

How Long Does it Take For Popcorn To Break Down?

Popcorn can take anywhere from 20 to 30 days to disintegrate. In a compost bin, popcorn decomposes in a relatively short amount of time. Popcorn kernels take longer to rot in a compost bin, but the amount of time it will take is uncertain.

If you have unpopped kernels that you want to put in your compost bin but don’t want to take a long time to decompose, crack them. You can just pound each kernel with a hammer or fracture them with other heavy objects.

This exposes more of the kernel’s surface area to the compost, allowing it to decompose more quickly.

This also destroys the hard shell that surrounds the kernel, allowing the compost to move on to the rest of the kernel without breaking down the cover first.

Because popcorn only contains butter and salt, which break down more quickly than sugar, kettle corn will likely take somewhat longer to break down than popped popcorn.

Will Composted Popcorn Attract Pests or Birds?

Bugs and birds will be attracted to popcorn in the compost bin or pile. Some bugs are beneficial, while others are a nuisance. Birds will flock to your compost bin or pile and dig around to locate popped or unpopped popcorn if you put it there.

Birds will consume both popped and unpopped popcorn, and they will discover and devour it if you put some in your compost bin. Chipmunks and squirrels may visit your compost bin searching for popcorn kernels, especially if there are plenty of them.

If you put popcorn in your compost bin, the most common pests drawn to it are ants, flies, and beetles, so don’t be shocked if you see a lot of ants and flies about your compost bin, even if the lid is entirely closed.

Birds, bugs, and chipmunks are unlikely to be attracted to burnt popcorn since burnt food smells bad, especially bugs and other animals.

If you don’t want your compost bin to attract bugs, birds, or chipmunks but still want to put your popcorn and kettle corn in it, bury them thoroughly beneath the rest of the compost.


Can you compost popcorn kernels?

Yes, The popcorn kernels may be composted. They can be fresh from the supermarket or unpopped kernels from a batch that has already been popped. As previously stated, the ‘old maids’ can easily be composted, even if they are smeared in salt or butter.

Can you compost burnt popcorn?

Yes, Popcorn, both popped and unpopped, can be added to your compost pile or bin. Burnt popcorn (burnt kernels and complete pieces) can also be added to your compost bin or pile. Because it is a natural food item, it may easily be composted.

Final Words

We hope this guide helped you know everything about composting popcorns of different kinds and the best conditions for better decomposition.

If you have any queries regarding composting popcorns, please write them down in the comments. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any other tips to add to our guide to make it even more informative!

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