Thinking outside the (compost) box

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to show you how much food scrap waste is generated by a small pre-school in one day:

Large bucket of food waste
That’s a big bucket of waste!

That’s a 5 Litre container, and it is almost full! This is mainly fruit peel from morning tea time, but there is also leftover fruit, and quite a bit of lunch scraps (mainly white bread, sadly!).

Wondering what I’m doing with it?

I’m going to give much of it to the chickens, so that they can scratch through and find any good bits in amongst all the scraps.

First I will be removing a good chunk of the white bread though, as white bread is not very healthy for chooks — it just replaces fills them up with junk food and replaces the better grains and nutrition that we give in their layer mash. Much like little humans, really!

Once the chickens have had their scratch, I rake out the remainders and put the whole lot into our compost bin. The chickens break it up a little and manure the whole lot, so what we add to the compost is nicely “activated” and will give the whole heap a nice kick in the pants. 

Chickens scratching over scraps
Harriet and Matilda happily scratching over scraps

I also bring home scraps from play group, although we don’t generate nearly as much waste. Can you imagine how quickly your little red bin would fill up if you generated a whole bucket of food scraps every day? I’m very pleased to be importing the waste from outside my home so that it can avoid going to landfill, and instead fill up my compost heap!

Now it’s your turn!

If you have a compost heap, why not try taking a bucket to your workplace with a nice big label on it, and let your co-workers feed your heap for you? Or perhaps you have a local cafe nearby who doesn’t have any plan for their waste?

I asked up and down the highway near my house, but the coffee shop is already very “green” and composts their own waste, and apparently the Subway doesn’t generate any scraps — which I find a little hard to believe!  But what am I gonna do — dive in their dumpster to check? 🙂

I challenge you to think outside your own compost boxes, and brainstorm a few places you might be able to get hold of some free compost. Document any ideas on this thread, and better still — I’d love to hear some stories of how you get hold of extra compostable waste!

7 thoughts on “Thinking outside the (compost) box

  1. I would love to have a compost pile in my yard long before I ever start a garden, but the problem for our family is we don’t get an even balance of the scrap items needed for the ratio. We end up with lots of leaf and plant material and very little of the other kinds. We also don’t use a lot of the products that can generate the other layers. 😦


    1. We also generate mostly the “green” compost input, and not much of the “brown”. Sometimes we use shredded paper (old tax files etc) or even butcher’s paper that comes with our grocery order. Perhaps there is a source for shredded paper in a business near you? We purchase straw to make up the remainder of our “brown” material (it goes via the chicken coop first, mostly).

      If you can’t get hold of the “brown” stuff, maybe you should start a worm farm. 🙂 Then you can get rid of everything except onion and citrus scraps, and have wonderful worm wee fertiliser for your garden! They don’t take as much scrap, though. That one 5 Litre bucket would probably do both our worm farms for one to two weeks at least (after removing the citrus).


      1. I have plenty of paper and leaves, I think I have too much of the brown stuff and not enough of the green! Of course, lately I have been going through coffee and eggs like a fiend, so maybe we would have a good start to it. If I can keep those pesky squirrels away! LOL


  2. At my work we get a box of fruit per week for all the staff at the end of the week I divide what is left for those who have chickens. I used the citrus peels to make fabric softener. Peel an orange, lemon or lime put in a jar with 500mls of water and leave for 24 hours. Strain and put into the rinse cycle.


    1. Hey, very nice idea! I bet that makes your load of washing smell great 🙂

      I use citrus peels to make scented cleaning vinegar, but haven’t tried it in the wash yet — maybe I will do this next time instead of adding drops of eucalyptus oil 🙂

      Great to hear you are using leftover food from your workplace. I think the office is a great target for wasted resources (paper and recyclables too). Good on you 🙂


  3. When I worked we used to have a compost bin at work which we took it in turns to take home and put it our own compost bins. There were so many of us who wanted to do it we had to have a rota, I didn’t get to take it home that often!


    1. That’s amazing, and so heartening to hear! Where I used to work, we struggled to get people to put their empty coke cans in the recycling instead of the garbage. I can’t even begin to imagine compost in that context! 🙂


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