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Kitchen compost

Vegetable peelings and food waste

I have been mulling the different purposes of the food waste caddy supplied by our locals councils, in my case Bristol City Council and home composting bins. I have heard people say they add paper and other non food items to their caddy but this just sounded wrong. It’s fascinating to think our food waste goes on a journey once the rubbish people collect it.

According to Bristol city council’s website you can put:

  • bread, pasta, cereal and rice
  • cooked and uncooked food
  • dairy products and egg shells
  • fruit and vegetables
  • leftover food
  • meat, fish and bones
  • tea bags and coffee grounds

You cannot put:

  • any other household waste
  • corn starch liners without the compostable logo

You can learn more about what the council do with your food by visiting your local council’s website. Spoiler alert: it’s fascinating! The addition of the caddy food waste bin demonstrates that our local authorities have recognised the need for, and are participating in positive action to redirect our waste away from landfill so that it can become something a lot more useful such as biogas and fertiliser. The green fingered home composter is also playing their part, particularly when the food caddy option isn’t yet available in their area. By choosing to not add your vegetable and fruit peelings to the ‘general waste bin’ we avoid contributing to the greenhouse gas methane that builds up in landfill


On the spur of the moment I gathered my vegetable peelings and put them in a really big jar with the hope of it becoming compost. Since discovering that many chocolate companies are now using compostable foil to wrap the chocolate in, I was encouraged to see whether it really does work. This along with wanting to start my own indoor herb garden is the impetus behind the impulse.

Since adding my very muddy peelings which were from vegetables from the veggie box I have conducted a bit of research into home composting to make sure I’m on the right track. Although before I begin, I want to list the things that my instincts told me would fair well in a composting situ:


vegetable and fruit peelings


tea leaves

coffee grounds

paper shreds

What foods will I avoid when home composting for the first time?

I will avoid bread, garlic and any food items overly moist for now as I want to (cautiously) observe what happens to the above before getting adventurous, especially with food that might take longer than I expect veggies and tea and coffee grounds to break down. 

What do you need to ensure your home compost will work?

Just layer organic materials — garden clippings, dry leaves, kitchen vegetable scraps, shredded paper — and a dash of soil to create a concoction that turns into humus, the best soil builder around. Before you start piling on, recognize that there are two types of composting: cold and hot. – Better Homes and Garden

I am cold composting, piling up vegetable and even garden waste in my pot and according to Better Homes and Gardens waiting for about a year for my ‘materials to decompose’ (!).  I guess gardening is a slow and patient art form. I will not be sealing the lid as air needs to enter the jar. 

Therefore, this morning I am going to take a wander to my local park, Redland Green, and collect a handful of leaves and twigs and scrape a little bit of soil, bring it home and add it to my ‘compost’ to create the right environment for the materials to hopefully one day become ‘humus’.

I will need to buy an organic soil for my herbs anyhow. I am determined to keep my homegrown herbs as organic as possible, eliminating the doubt that often accompanies the food we buy these day. Does anyone else question foods that have been labelled organic?




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