29. Nov, 2021

Christmas Waste 1

 In addition to the page on  winter composting techniques I have included this section on Christmas, and similar festive waste, detailing how to reduce food waste and composting different seasonal waste as well as disposal methods for other seasonal waste.

Christmas is a festival which results in vast quantities of food waste. During the Christmas season, we in the UK eat much more than we need and 80 per cent more than during the rest of the year. Not only are we eating more we are wasting more binning approximately 230,000 tonnes of food waste during the Christmas period with 53 per cent of people confessing  that they throw away more food at Christmas and about a third of families admit to wasting some of their Christmas dinner. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 10 per cent of every festive meal is wasted. This is valued at about £64 million.  Of all the festive food turkey causes the most problems with one in 10 families having binned an entire bird as the result of a cooking mishap.

Plan now for Christmas food waste composting

The best way to reduce Christmas food waste is by buying only what is needed and cooking and eating any leftovers. As always, the key message is Reduce, Reuse and Recycle but as a composting website our message is to home compost your waste where possible. This covers all “unavoidable” food waste including cooked food.  Uncooked fruit and vegetable wastes e.g.  peelings from Christmas vegetables and satsuma peel, can all be composted in the normal compost bin. Cooked foods can only be composted in a hot composting system, a food waste digester, bokashi bin or wormery.

 Normally it is not advisable to add liquids to compost bins, but they will take “plate scrapping” quantities of gravy, cranberry sauce, etc. preferably mixed with shredded paper or cardboard Christmas nuts can be smashed with a hammer and composted. Food waste counts as a composting “green” and it must be balanced by adding an equal amount of “brown” materials to the compost bin.

Compost Bins for Cooked Food

Now is the time to plan to extend the range of food waste that you can compost at home by adding a food compost bin to your 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 plus the normal garden waste.

 Hotbin  We have  two Hotbins at the Stokes Wood Composting Demonstration, Leicester site using them to compost waste food from the café as well as normal garden waste. 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


Green Johanna  I have used a Green Johanna for over 10 years both at home and on our Demonstration site.  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.

 Jorraform 125  The Joraform compost tumblers are the most expensive of the three but are excellent for food composting being quick and easy to use. I have used mine to compost waste food from a small cafe            

Bokashi Bins.    Bokashi is also a  useful system for those without a garden or who want to convert cooked food waste into a material that can be composted in a conventional compost bin. Bokashi bins can be kept in the kitchen or outside in a shed or garden.

Talks on composting can be provided for garden, horticultural clubs and allotment societies. Practical training sessions will be  provided at our Composting Demonstration site Stokes Wood Allotments Leicester   in the new year