15. Nov, 2017

Preparing for the Christmas Food Waste

Once the waste generated by Halloween has been cleared away we start planning for Christmas, a festival which results in even more food waste. In the UK it is estimated that nearly 10 per cent of every festive meal is wasted. This is  valued at about £64million.  About a third of diners admit to wasting some of their  Christmas dinner .

We waste the equivalent to 263,000 turkeys, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts and 740,000 Christmas puddings. Some estimates put the figures even higher at two million turkeys and  five million Christmas puddings  not forgetting 74 million mince pies. The festival is completed by discarding 250 tonnes of Christmas Trees in January but we will look at this in a later blog.

Plan now for Christmas food waste composting

The key message to reduce Christmas food waste is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but as a composting website our message is  that  if you should have ate it compost it. This covers all “unavoidable” food waste  including cooked food. Now is the time to plan to extend the range of food waste  that we can compost by adding a food compost bin to our Christmas list or by buying one as a December  treat. Depending on your needs and resources one of the following three  bins can take  your cooked food waste including bones, garden waste and even pet waste if operated at 40-60°C.  Composting Food

Green Johanna

I have used a  Green Johanna, both at home and on our Demonstration sites, for eight or nine  years.  All Christmas food waste can be composted as well as garden waste. A winter jacket can be purchased separately to keep it working  when the average outdoor temperature drops below 5°C but I tend to wrap mine in several layers of bubble wrap.  Price approx £120


I have two Hotbins in use at the Demonstration site using them mainly to compost waste food from the cafe. They are well insulated so ideal for winter use and it is relatively easy to maintain a compost temperature of 40-55C  provided they are fed regularly. I use woodchip as the main bulking agent but also add shredded paper to help absorb the moisture. Approx price £185

Jorraform 125

The Joraform compost tumblers are the expensive but are excellent for food composting  being quick and easy of use. I use mine to compost waste food from the Demonstration site cafe. They have a rust proof galvanized steel construction insulated with polyethylene.  Wood pellets or wood shavings are recommended as a bulking agent but I use wood chip which is available for free locally. I have used one of these bins for about seven years. Being a tombola drum shaped tumbler system they are easy to aerate.  Approx price £349

Other systems that can be used for food waste


Green Cone

The Green Cone consists  of a with a double skinned cone on top a food container that resembles a “laundry basket’ buried in the ground. It requires the regular use of an activator which is added to the waste  with the nutrients from the waste draining   away into the surrounding soil. It needs a well drained soil and should not be filled above ground level. The concept is simple but I have found that many users, ignore the instructions, and treat the Cone as a compost bin by filling it to the very top and then find that it does not work. Price £100 approx


Bokashi, is an indoor system using anaerobic fermentation to compost food waste without attracting vermin. It produces a liquid that can be used to deodorise drains and a solid  waste can be either buried in the garden or added to a dalek composter or similar. It is ideal for use in flats and where relatively small quantities of food waste are produced.  Price from £24.99 for a twin pack


Single chamber or stacking  womeries will take most food waste  and can be used by those in flats (there are now quite smart indoor wormeries in both plastic and stainless steel) , apartments, balconies or small gardens. Single chamber £39 -£80, stacking £54 - £150