Just want to know is it safe to use expired can goods for compost making, examples: Diced tomatoe,evaporated milk,turkey gravy,different Campbell soups,can pumpkin,coffee

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    Welcome to Sustainable Living! There are 2 similar questions asked and answered here and here. Do those answers help or do you feel your question is different?
    – THelper
    Feb 26, 2019 at 7:36
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    BTW do you intend to put everything in a compost heap and make compost first or do you want to use it as mulch (add directly to your soil)?
    – THelper
    Feb 26, 2019 at 7:44

1 Answer 1


It's great that you want to reduce waste & build soil health via composting! As long as the expired goods follow the normal home composting guidelines you should be more than fine. Here're some useful guideline links:

A couple of caveats, based on your specific question...

1) You mention expired cans. If it's just that the Use By date is past it is likely still safe to eat. Check out this Today Show report from 2018 to learn more about how those dates work & what they mean.

2) You mention soups & turkey gravy. Both may have meat in them which though technically compostable requires very specific conditions to do so safely & sanitarily, especially hard to do at home. Best to toss those if they're truly not edible. If they're not infected I'd do the more sustainable thing, which would be to open & bin the contents, then rinse & recycle the cans.

3) If your canned food is truly too far gone to eat & otherwise suitable for composting just be sure they aren't bulging or otherwise showing signs of infection. Even the hottest pile will have a hard time killing botulism (and home piles never get as hot as industrial ones), and it'd be dangerous to spread foodborne illness germs around your yard.

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