Feeding the 5000

Filed in Blog by on September 11, 2010 3 Comments
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diverting food waste to the compost heap

diverting food waste to the compost heap

I thought this was a bit of  a cute insight into life at Chez Green for zero waste week.

On a Sunday, we have a traditional Sunday dinner, and at the end of the morning we have this on the kitchen work surface:

Sharing the fruit and vegetable peelings

Sharing the fruit and vegetable peelings

On the left is the bunny platter – carefully sliced medallions of parsnip, carrot, banana ends, beetroot and apple peel with tender broccoli leaves to finish. Only the best will do you understand. No cabbage because she knows what she likes (and cabbage isn’t something ‘she likes’).

In the middle is the worm platter – shredded broccoli stalk, carrot ends, parsnip core, shredded cabbage leaves, kiwi rind, a crushed egg shell or two and part of a shredded egg box. Sometimes some toilet roll inner canapés. No potato peelings, onions or citrus because potatoes sprout in there and citrus and onions get left behind (too acidic for the worms tummies).

On the right are the compost scraps – the remainder of the egg box, broccoli stalk, cabbage stump, potato peelings, egg shells and some newspaper. Our compost heap is a happy fellow who will munch through most things and is much less fussy than the bunny OR the worms!

So for our small family of three, Sunday lunch is more like a dinner for 6 by the time the food has been properly apportioned. Or maybe 600 – I’m not sure how many worms we have in our wormery. And when I’m feeling very domestic, many of the peelings are made into stock for soup the following week too.

Composting or using a wormery is a great way to divert valuable waste from the landfill and put it to good use. At the end of a few months you’ll end up with free compost to use on your plants. It is estimated up to 60% of the items that go into your bin could be composted such as.

Here are a list of 30 compostable items to get you started; one every day for a month 🙂

Cardboard from things like cereal boxes, toilet roll tubes, egg boxes (shred before adding to the pile)

coffee grounds and paper filters

wine bottle corks (chop them up first and don’t use plastic ones!)

dead houseplants or flowers

crushed eggshells


fruit and vegetable peeling, pips and cores (some things like potato peelings can sprout, but this isn’t a problem)

grass clippings

human hair and pet fur

natural luffahs

shredded leaves from houseplants and garden plants

shredded twigs, hedge clippings and small prunings

nail clippings


nut shells (as long as it’s not too many)

paper (except glossy) such as kitchen towel, junk mail, napkins, shredded bank statements, tissues

Pizza cardboard boxes

Real cellophane (not the plastic kind)

vegetarians pet’s bedding and poop


seaweed and pondweed

straw and hay

tea bags

natural textiles such as bits left over from craft projects – cotton, wool, silk, linen, even leather etc not man made fibres

toothpicks and bamboo skewers

tumble dryer fluff

Used potting compost

Vacuum cleaner contents and floor sweepings (as long as you have natural fibre carpets and rugs)

wood ash

bokashi contents

We’re nearing the end of our fantastic 2010 zero waste week, but many of our bloggers are still hard at it:

I’m hanging around with Siobhan from Cafe Direct today because she is making brownies for zero waste week! Not just ordinary brownies though; these have a secret ingredient which you won’t believe.

Mrs A finished her zero waste week with a fishy tail about how she used to throw fish into the bin! But thanks to Saints Cafe, she’s a reformed character and might even have the confidence to make her own fishcakes from now on….

Sooz has been sharing pics all week long of her empty plates to prove once and for all she’s created no food waste. Well done Sooz!

Erica over at The Green Familia finished her zero waste week with some great ideas about portion control and she shares a link for a magnetic meal planner so you never waste food again

What about you? Come and share your stories on our dedicated zero waste week page to be in with the chance of winning some fantastic prizes!​ I’ll be back tomorrow to share three ways to use up a commonly discarded item in this house.

National Zero Waste Week is sponsored by Tetra Pak. Schools and businesses can now recycle their cartons too. Click here for more information.


About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (3)

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  1. Jane says:

    I’ve never worried about anything sprouting in the wormery. It’s only very occasionally and it is dark in there! All my potato peelings go in there… when I have them. I hardly ever peel them. Since a friend served us roast potatoes in their skins (washed, cut, drizzled in olive oil, sprinkled in salt) I have never looked back. Small ones are washed and boiled whole (bottom of steamer while other veg in top) and baked ones are baked in their skins of course (my favourite bit). My excuse for avoiding peeling is that the goodness is just under the skin!

  2. Sooz says:

    Wow Mrs Green, your compost worms are very well looked after – best not tell mine about that or they’ll get jealous (our wormery ‘died’ so the remaining worms were transported to our main compost bin, where they’ve reproduced to epic numbers and seem to eat everything we chuck at them!)

  3. Mrs Green says:

    @Jane: Well in our last one it was like a mini jungle, so I know keep sprouty things out of there! Never heard of making roast potatoes with the skins on – I’ll try just one today and see how it turns out 🙂

    @Sooz: I have to admit Sooz, we erm, killed our first lot too – I left them in the sun and felt terribly guilty about it 🙁 So this time they are being rather pampered 🙂

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