Can You Compost Used Matches? (What To Do With It)

The Chemistry of matches says that match heads are made of Phosphorus Sulphide and Potassium Chlorate, which are great for forming an inorganic and chemical fertilizer. So, what about the used Match sticks? Are they too valuable? Will they be able to create organic matter compost? Can you compost used matches?

It is possible to compost used matches since they contain wood, a natural material. Used matches are easy to break down and mix with soil. In addition, the phosphorus on a match head is equally safe for composting.

How To Compost Matches At Home

Here are a few ways to compost used matches at home. Follow these compost processes and steps and see the magic yourself:

Outdoor Composting

Learn composting of used matches at home in few easy steps:

  1. Dig a compost pit on bare earth.
  2. Add Sand or straws to make soil well-drained.
  3. Now add the organic material you want to decompose.
  4. One should always lay a dry and moist layer of the materials alternatively.
  5. This is the crucial step of composting; it includes adding greens to your composition like wheatgrass clippings, food scraps, buckwheat.
  6. Now it is essential to keep the area moist. So, water it occasionally.
  7. Cover with a plastic sheet, plastic bag, or wooden sheet to retain moisture with a compost bin.
  8. And do not forget to turn a pile using a shovel. This will ensure that proper oxygen is reaching the compost heap.
  9. You can also use a rotating compost tumbler or compost bin to make your turning work easy for turning a compost pile.
  10. Gradually your compost heap will be ready.

Indoor Composting

Composting used matches in compost bin

Don’t have an outdoor space? No need to worry; you can still compost used matches and create a giant compost heap.

  1. Buy a compost bin that is readily available at hardware stores.
  2. Do the same as you would do for outdoor composting within the compost bin, where you can also compost food scraps, food waste, and grass clippings.
  3. Remember, a well-managed pit will not allow rodents or pests to grow.
  4. Hence, your composting of organic waste will get ready within three to four weeks in your compost bin.

In-Vessel Composting

It is a very effective method of composting used matches that shows its effect in a few weeks. However, this method involves a large vessel or a space where all the organic compost material is collected as a compost pile.

Steps Involved in In-Vessel Composting

  1. Choose an intimate space or a vessel that helps maintain the temperature and the moisture needed to decompose matches. 
  2. The size of the vessel can vary according to your requirement.
  3. Leave the space for aeration in a vessel. Thus it will ensure proper microbial activity needed for composting of used matches and other similar material.

Aerated Static Pile

If you have limited used matches but many other homogenous mixes of waste, try this method as it helps compost a large homogenous mixture of waste. It shows its effect within three to six months. However, this method is not suitable for greasy materials.

Steps Involved In Aerated Static Pile

  • Layer the organic waste with wood cuttings or match sticks. This is done to create a gap that will aid passing air throughout the organic waste material.
  • Or you can also place pipes that will transmit the air and create proper airflow for organic matter.
  • Now carefully monitor the process of decomposing.

Aerated Windrow Composting

If you have bulk organic waste to convert with used matches, try following the aerated windrow composting method. It is done to decompose a tremendous amount of organic waste. This is done by forming piles.

Steps Involved in Aerated Windrow Composting of any Compostable items:

  • Vast piles of 4-8 feet having a width of 14-16 feet are created in a line.
  • This process will create enough heat and the perfect temperature for the decomposition of organic waste.
  • These piles are then turned periodically mechanically or manually.

Benefits Of Composting Matches

Composting of matches comes with a massive variety of benefits, not only for your plant but for the environment too. Check out the below listed few unknown benefits of compost matches:

  • Matches add nutrients and offer an enriching value to your soil, and offer a rich and healthy environment for growing plants.
  • Since the head of matches comprises phosphorus sulfide and potassium chlorate, it becomes a decent inorganic fertilizer after composting, thus helping indoor and outdoor plants grow faster.
  • It is a tried and tested method to keep away pests and diseases and makes the plant and the soil healthy.
  • Matches compost is an organic fertilizer, thus ensuring to curb the carbon footprints.

Factors to be taken care of during composting of used matches:

Feedstock and Nutrient Balance

Composting used matches requires a perfect balance of green and brown organic materials. You can compost used matches similarly with the green materials like leaves, food scraps, manure containing nitrogen, and brown material like burned matchsticks, wood chips, and branches with a large amount of carbon. 

So, just like the food scraps and food waste methods, perfectly composting used matches and items should also balance nitrogen and carbon to become effective.

Particle Size

Particle size plays a significant role when it comes to composting compostable materials like used matches. And, both grounded, shredded organic material or burned materials like used matches efficiently target microorganisms to attack and convert them into compost.

Also, remember not to turn the used matches into fine particles as fine particles are compact and will not get easily attacked by microorganisms.

Moisture Content 

It is to be kept in mind that the compost pile of used matches should have moisture. This moisture will act as a key for attracting microorganisms for forming compost.

Moisture content can be increased through natural ways like rainfall or through intentional watering. Thus, you can dip the used matches in a water pot. However, a compost pile of matches will not turn out to be effective when the contents are too dry.

Oxygen Flow

Airing is a must for decomposition. Oxygen makes the decomposition process and compost pile faster. But too much oxygen can dry out the used matches and can make the decomposition process much slower.


When all the conditions mentioned above are taken care of, the temperature automatically sets perfect for the composition of used matches to make a compost pile.

We all know how difficult composting organic waste like compost matches is; it needs your sincere attention and concern. But are you aware that the compost from matches offers enormous benefits? Read further.

How Do You Dispose Of Used Matches?

Generally, we throw the unused matches in the dry bin like other dry garbage. But what one should do with used matches is- compost used matches in the compost bin and see how the composting of matches will help you retain the moisture in the compost heap.

  • Before throwing them away, allow them to cool or soak them in water.
  • This will not ignite the matches in the trash but the compost bin. 
  • It will ensure that the used matches are now safe to be thrown in the garbage.

Can You Throw Away Unused Matches?

One can easily throw away the unused matches the right way. But the correct method involves soaking them in cold water.

You can always decompose the matches despite throwing them away as they are biodegradable made with wood and paper. Using an effective decomposing method, you can create healthy manure from it. So, next time despite wasting it or throwing it away. Recycling them, and you will feel satisfied.

How to dispose of unused matches safely?

Every year many accidents happen due to matchboxes. For example, the matchstick catches fire when thrown right away due to friction.

Before throwing them, just soak the matches in cold water. This will prevent matches from igniting, and then you can typically throw them in the trash.

Lastly, don’t miss this guide on composting used tea bags.