Composting Avocado Pits

Composting food waste like avocado pits is an excellent way to reduce your environmental impact and create nutrient-rich soil amendments. While it’s easy to just throw avocado pits and skins in the trash, there are many benefits to taking the time to compost them instead.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about composting avocado pits and skins. You’ll learn the basics of composting these tricky wastes, the benefits they provide to your compost and soil, and the best techniques to break them down fast.

Why Compost Avocado Pits and Skins?

Avocados are incredibly healthy and delicious fruits, but they create a lot of waste. The pits and skins make up about 18% of an avocado’s total weight. With avocado consumption on the rise, all this waste can really add up.

In the United States alone, over 2 billion pounds of avocados are consumed annually. That means there are around 360 million pounds of avocado pits and skins thrown in the trash each year.

Composting this waste is a great way to keep it out of landfills and turn it into something useful for your garden. Here are some of the top reasons to compost avocado pits and skins:

Reduces Landfill Waste

Composting avocado waste keeps it from ending up in landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of methane emissions in the US. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat.

By composting avocado pits and skins instead of trashing them, you avoid contributing to landfill methane. You also reduce your overall household waste, which is better for the environment.

Provides Nutrients for Your Compost

Avocado pits and skins might seem useless, but they can add valuable nutrients to your compost. The pits contain calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. The skins also provide nitrogen and carbon that microorganisms need to thrive.

Composting this waste puts these nutrients to good use enriching your compost. The minerals and nutrition get recycled back into your garden when you use the finished compost.

Creates Free Garden Amendment

Finished compost containing broken down avocado bits makes an excellent organic amendment for garden soil. Using compost improves soil structure and texture. It also enhances moisture retention and nutrients for plant growth.

Rather than buying fertilizers or other soil additives, you can create a free amendment right at home by composting food scraps like avocados. Your plants will reap all the benefits of the composted pits and skins.

Closes the Loop on Waste

Composting kitchen scraps like avocado waste closes the loop when it comes to food byproducts. Once added to your compost, the pits and skins break down over time. They return to the earth and feed new plant life, repeating the cycle of nutrients.

Closing this loop sustains long-term soil health. It also reduces pollution and waste caused by extracting new materials. Composting avocados is a small way to make your food production more sustainable.

Challenges of Composting Avocado Waste

While composting avocado pits and skins has many benefits, there are some challenges to watch out for. The main issues are their relatively slow decomposition rate and potential to attract pests.

Slow to Break Down

Avocado pits and skins contain oils, waxes, and compounds like lignin and cellulose that take a long time to break down. Whole, untreated pits can take several months to compost. Skins also decompose slower than other fruit and veggie scraps.

If you just toss the pits and skins in your compost as-is, it will take ages for them to break down enough to use. Slow decomposition means the waste just sits there taking up space and nutrients.

Risk of Attracting Pests

The smells from avocado waste can be enticing for rodents, raccoons, opossums, and other urban scavengers. They may dig through your compost looking for the remains of this treat.

Pests pose problems like contaminating compost, spreading germs and parasites, and causing a mess in your yard. Composting avocado pits and skins needs to be done carefully to deter these critters.

While these challenges exist, there are solutions for successful composting which we’ll cover next. With the right techniques, you can easily break down avocado waste in your compost without issues.

Best Practices for Composting Avocado Waste

Composting avocado pits and skins is simple when you follow some best practices. The keys are processing the waste first, maintaining proper conditions in your compost, and preventing pest problems.

Break It Down First

To speed decomposition, the avocado waste needs to be broken down into smaller pieces before composting. This gives microorganisms more surface area to colonize and work on.

For avocado pits, use a hammer to crack them into a few chunks. You can also chop them with an axe or machete if you have a large amount. Breaking pits into at least a few pieces helps them compost much faster.

Avocado skins can be shredded into thin strips using a shredder or food processor. You can also cut them into smaller pieces with a knife or scissors. The smaller the skins are, the quicker they’ll decompose.

Maintain Proper Conditions

Like any compost pile, optimal conditions are key for efficient breakdown of avocado waste. Your compost needs the right:

  • Moisture: Avocado bits will dry out fast. Mix and water them into the center of your pile to prevent this.
  • Aeration: Turn and mix the compost to circulate air. Avoid compaction.
  • Particles: Blend avocado waste with fine and coarse plant materials for the right texture.
  • Volume: Compost large enough quantities at once to generate heat and momentum in decomposition.
  • Microbes & Nutrients: Rotate in fresh grass clippings, manure, and other “green” nitrogen sources.

With ideal conditions like these, your compost will work through avocado waste much faster thanks to thriving microbial activity. Monitor and adjust things like moisture regularly.

Discourage Pests

To prevent avocado waste from attracting unwanted pests to the compost:

  • Bury it deep in the center of the pile under at least 12 inches of other materials.
  • Cover the pile with a secure lid to block access.
  • Don’t add oils or other strong smelling amendments that could lure animals.
  • Use an enclosed compost tumbler if pests persist. This seals off the waste.
  • Add predator urine granules around the compost to deter scavengers.

Following these tips, you can avoid issues with rats, raccoons, and other pests while composting avocado pits and skins.

Composting Methods for Avocado Waste

There are several composting methods that work well for breaking down chunky, hardy avocado waste. The right approach depends on factors like your yard space and volume of waste.

Backyard Compost Pile

For most homes, composting avocado pits and skins in a standard backyard compost pile is effective. Make sure to chop or shred the waste first and mix it into the center of the pile. Maintain proper conditions for decomposition.

Backyard composting works for small to moderate amounts of avocado waste. Monitor the pile regularly and turn it to speed things up. Finish compost can be used whenever it’s dark, crumbly, and no longer recognizable as avocado waste.


Composting with worms (vermicomposting) is ideal for avocado pits and skins. The worms help break down and process the hard, woody bits using specialized gut enzymes. This accelerates decomposition compared to traditional composting.

Chop the avocado waste finely before adding it to the worm bin. Bury it under bedding for the worms to slowly work on. Vermicompost is nutrient-dense “black gold” perfect for container plants or gardens.

Commercial Facilities

Some cities offer curbside collection of food waste for large-scale composting. This is transported to commercial composting facilities to be processed and broken down together with yard waste.

The intense heat, grinding, and agitation in commercial systems ensure avocado pits and skins decompose along with everything else. If available in your area, commercial composting is the easiest method.

Trenches & Sheet Mulching

For large volumes of avocado waste like from a restaurant, composting trenches or sheet mulching may work better than piles. These involve spreading and burying the waste to decompose over time.

Trenches are dug out beds where waste is added and mixed into the soil. Sheet mulching layers carbon sources like straw over the buried avocado waste. Both approaches compost mass volumes of waste on site.

Composting Whole Avocado Pits

We’ve focused on techniques for chopping or shredding avocado pits and skins to speed up composting. But what about adding whole, intact pits to your compost?

While leaving pits whole will cause them to break down slower, there are some benefits to composting uncut pits:

It’s Simple

Composting whole pits eliminates the need to chop or process them beforehand. Just toss the pits straight into your compost as they are for easy, no-fuss composting.

Natural Pest Deterrent

Some gardeners claim that whole avocado pits can help deter pests when composting. As they slowly decay, they may release compounds that ward off unwanted critters from your pile. The hard pits also make digging more difficult.

Restores Minerals

When left whole, more of the beneficial minerals like potassium and calcium in avocado pits are returned to the compost and soil. Chopping can cause some nutrient losses.

Can Sprout Seedlings

Over time in compost, whole pits may sprout into avocado seedlings thanks to their intact embryonic bud. These self-sown pits can be transplanted as unique new trees.

Creates Habitat

As whole pits decompose, their nooks and crannies provide the perfect habitat for composting organisms to take up residence. This supports a diverse micro-ecosystem in your compost.

However, to ensure uncomposted pits don’t linger for years, bury them deep in the pile and use plenty of complementary high-nitrogen “green” wastes. Monitor for full breakdown before using your compost.

Turning the pile periodically will also help accelerate decomposition of whole pits. And consider crushing or slicing any that remain after several months.

With the right management, composting untreated avocado pits can be successful. But for faster composting, it’s still ideal to break them down into smaller pieces first.

Using Finished Avocado Pit Compost

You’ve put in the work composting piles of avocado waste. Now it’s time to reap the rewards by using the nutritious finished compost in your garden!

Here are some of the top ways to make use of broken down pits, skins, and other composted food scraps:

Mix Into Potting Soil

Add 20-30% avocado pit compost to any homemade or commercial potting mix for houseplants or seed starting. The organic matter and nutrients will stimulate healthy root growth.

Topdress Lawns & Gardens

Spread a thin layer of finished avocado compost over established garden beds, borders, and lawns as an organic top-dressing. This will slowly improve the soil as it filters down.

Make Compost Tea

Brew a concentrated “compost tea” by steeping compost containing avocado bits in water. Use this liquid fertilizer to water plants or spray onto leaves for a nutrient boost.

Mulch Trees & Shrubs

Use shredded avocado skin compost as part of a mixed mulch around the base of woody trees and shrubs. The slow-release nutrients will feed plants for months.

Boost Seedlings & Transplants

When transplanting young seedlings, add a handful of avocado pit compost to each planting hole. This will enrich the soil and spur quicker establishment.

Nourish Vegetable Crops

Incorporate compost with decomposed avocado into in-ground vegetable garden beds before planting. Your crops will thrive with the fertile, organic nutrients.

Fill Raised Beds

For new raised bed gardens, fill one-third of the frame height with compost made from avocado waste. Nutrients will enrich the whole soil column as roots grow down.

Recycling your food scraps like avocado pits and skins through compost allows you to unlock all their nutritional benefits for your garden. Get ready to grow your tastiest, most bountiful fruits and vegetables yet!

Troubleshooting Avocado Composting Problems

Composting avocado waste is simple when done right, but sometimes issues pop up. Here are some common problems and solutions:

Pits stay hard and intact for months

  • Chop or crush pits into smaller pieces
  • Bury them deeper into hotter center of pile
  • Turn and mix pile more frequently
  • Add more nitrogen-rich green waste

Skins stay visible and unchanged

  • Shred skins finer or cut into tiny pieces
  • Provide pile with better aeration and moisture

Bad smells from anaerobic decomposition

  • Turn and fluff pile to increase air circulation
  • Add coarse bulk like wood chips to improve aeration
  • Mix in fresher green waste to balance nitrogen levels

Pests like rats or raccoons digging in pile

  • Eliminate strong food waste smells that attract them
  • Bury avocado deep under layers of cover materials
  • Use enclosed composter or rodent-proof bin
  • Sprinkle predator urine granules around pile

White or gray mold growing on waste

  • Create drier conditions in pile by turning and adding carbon-rich browns
  • Limit nitrogen-rich contributions until fungi subsides

With some adjustments to conditions and materials, you can get an avocado compost pile back on track. Follow best practices from the start to avoid most issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can avocado pits be composted whole?

Yes, avocado pits can be added to compost whole without chopping. However, this will significantly slow down decomposition. It’s recommended to break pits into smaller pieces first to speed up composting.

Do avocado pits kill other plants when composting?

No, once broken down in compost, avocado pits and skins do not release anything toxic that would kill other plants. In fact, the nutrients released improve soil health.

How long does it take avocado pits to decompose in compost?

Whole avocado pits can take over a year in compost. Chopped, crushed pits break down in approximately 2-4 months. Avocado skins may take 1-2 months to compost when shredded into small pieces.

Can avocado peels be composted?

Yes, avocado skins and peels can absolutely be added to compost. Be sure to cut them into smaller pieces first. Shredded skins break down faster than whole skins.

What does composted avocado smell like?

Composted avocado pits and skins have an earthy, humus-like smell when finished, with no remaining aromas of the original fruit. Any foul or rotten smells during composting means conditions need adjustment.

Does composting avocado pits attract rats?

Avocado waste can attract rats and other pests to compost if not managed right. Bury pits and skins deep inside the pile and cover with soil or leaves. Use enclosed compost bins if rat problems persist.

Can dogs eat avocado pits and skins from compost?

It’s not recommended for dogs to eat avocado waste from compost piles. The persin toxin in avocado pits and skins can still cause stomach upsets even after partial decomposition. Keep compost securely covered.