A composting bin

Can I put moldy cheese in my compost bin?


It's complicated, whether you can put moldy cheese into your composting bin, so read on!

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Get the right balance of brown and green composting materials in your bin with our expert guide.

Can You Compost Moldy Cheese? Best Practices for Disposing of Expired Cheese

What to Do with Moldy Cheese

When we discover moldy cheese in our refrigerator, our first instinct may be to toss it in the compost bin. However, composting moldy cheese is not always the best option. While cheese is biodegradable and can break down in a compost pile, moldy cheese can attract pests and animals, produce an unpleasant odor, and potentially harbor harmful bacteria and pathogens.

Instead of composting moldy cheese, we recommend wrapping it securely in a plastic bag and disposing of it in the trash. This method helps contain any odors and prevents animals from accessing the contaminated cheese. By properly disposing of moldy cheese, we can maintain a healthy and safe composting environment while reducing waste in an eco-friendly manner.

Composting Dairy Products: What You Need to Know

When it comes to composting dairy products like cheese, there are a few important factors to consider. While some types of cheese, such as hard cheeses like Parmesan or aged Cheddar, can be composted in small amounts, soft cheeses and those with high moisture content should generally be avoided. These types of cheese, including Brie, Camembert, and Feta, can attract pests and create unpleasant odors in the compost pile.

If we decide to compost small amounts of hard cheese, it's crucial to mix them thoroughly with other compost materials, such as leaves, straw, or sawdust. This helps balance the moisture content and prevents the cheese from clumping together. Additionally, we should monitor the compost pile regularly to ensure that the cheese is breaking down properly and not attracting unwanted pests. Using a compost thermometer can help ensure that the pile reaches the proper temperature for decomposition.

Alternatives to Composting Cheese

If we find ourselves with expired or moldy cheese that we don't want to compost, there are other eco-friendly ways to dispose of it. One option is to check with local farms or animal sanctuaries to see if they accept old cheese as animal feed. Some pigs, for example, can safely consume moldy cheese as part of their diet.

Another alternative is to use expired cheese in cooking, as long as it hasn't developed harmful mold. Hard cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can be grated and used to flavor soups, pastas, or casseroles, even if they have developed some mold on the surface. By carefully cutting away the moldy parts and using the remaining cheese in cooking, we can reduce food waste and enjoy the flavor of the cheese in a safe manner. The FDA provides guidelines for safely handling and storing cheese to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I compost cheese rinds?

Cheese rinds from hard cheeses like Parmesan or Pecorino Romano can be composted in small amounts. Be sure to chop them into small pieces and mix them well with other compost materials.

Is it safe to compost blue cheese?

We recommend avoiding composting blue cheese, as it can harbor harmful bacteria and produce unpleasant odors in the compost pile. Instead, dispose of blue cheese in the trash.

Can I compost expired cheese?

Expired cheese that has not developed harmful mold can be composted in small amounts, following the guidelines for composting dairy products. However, if the cheese is moldy, it's best to dispose of it in the trash.

What should I do with rotten cheese?

Rotten or heavily moldy cheese should be wrapped securely in a plastic bag and disposed of in the trash. Composting rotten cheese can attract pests and create unpleasant odors. Using a kitchen compost pail can help store food scraps until they are ready to be added to the outdoor compost pile.


Composting moldy cheese is generally not recommended due to the potential for attracting pests, producing unpleasant odors, and harboring harmful bacteria. By properly disposing of moldy cheese in the trash and following guidelines for composting dairy products, we can reduce waste and maintain a healthy composting environment. Additionally, exploring alternatives like using expired cheese in cooking or donating it to animal farms can help minimize food waste while ensuring safety.

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