If you are trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle, you likely have a food waste bin in the kitchen. This then either goes out to your garden or allotment, or gets picked up by the council to be composted. Some of the more common things we know we can pop in these bins include:
- Egg shells
- Tea bags
- Fruit and vegetable peelings
- Food leftovers
- Mouldy or out of date food
But what else is in your kitchen that are compostable to live a more eco-friendly life? You should always double check with your specific council if unsure, but here are some ideas for items that you might not realize can be compostable!
Coffee and Coffee Pods
If you use a filter machine and have fresh ground coffee, then your old coffee grounds are compostable and you should either put them in your food waste or your compost heap. You can also mix rinsed coffee grinds into your flower and vegetable beds as fertilizer!
If you’re way too busy on a daily basis to make fresh filter coffee like me, maybe you have a pod machine? When I first looked at pod machines I was definitely put off by the amount of waste you would create by using one pod per coffee. When these pods are plastic, that’s an incredible amount of waste. However, there’s a solution! You can get Nespresso compatible pods which are compostable!
I got sent these pods from Rave Coffee to try with my Nespresso machine and they are amazing. They are excellent quality, make full flavoured, robust coffee and you can just pop the waste pods in your compost. They are made from 100% compostable materials with a 90 day breakdown, so it’s an eco-friendly pod allowing you to have fast, fresh coffee every morning and it just takes 20 seconds to make a cup. You can put them in your council food waste.
I sampled their signature blend, which is a medium roast with tons of caramel, almond and chocolate, mmm, three of my favourite things, as well as their Italian blend which is a full flavoured dark roast and also their light, vanilla toned Sugarcane Decaf – ideal for when you’ve had enough caffeine or need to wind down.
Paper Towel, Cupcake Cups and Paper Plates
Did you know that kitchen paper towel can be composted and put in your food waste bags, as can paper plates! You need to make sure that you buy paper plates that don’t have a waxy coating, as this is not compostable, so double check when purchasing. Most plain paper plates are now compostable, but some themed art paper plates that you might get for children’s birthday parties aren’t always. Whilst it’s more economical and environmentally friendly to use ceramic plates that you rewash and use for many years, paper plates are handy for parties, barbecues and picnics, so if you do use them, get composting!
Did you know that those paper cupcake cups that you use are compostable too? And it doesn’t matter if they’ve got cake stuck to them, so pop them in the food waste.
Takeaway Boxes and Coffee Cups
A lot of businesses are becoming eco-friendly, both out of a desire to save the planet and because it hurts their bottom line – there are bans and levies in place now on plastic products. The most eco-friendly thing to do is to take a travel mug or tupperware container and have your coffee served directly in it, but using a compostable disposable and making sure it actually goes in the compost waste is a good second option.
Check if your coffee cup from your favourite coffee shop or takeaway containers are compostable and if they are, make sure they go in your food waste caddy. This might mean washing them out and carrying them home if you’re out and about, as it’s hard to find a food waste bin out and about and hopefully that’s something that will improve in the future as knowledge of compostables increases.
Toothpicks and Bamboo Products
If you use toothpicks for anything, these can be composted as can most bamboo kitchen products. If you’re thinking about switching to more eco-friendly products, switching plastic for bamboo is a great start and one of the big bonuses of bamboo is that it can be composted after use.
Bamboo products in the kitchen are becoming more common in the form of skewers for cooking or straws for drinking. If you’re having a party and were thinking of disposable cutlery, you can buy bamboo sets which are far better than plastic for the environment. You can also compost bamboo toothbrushes from the bathroom!
Cleaning Wipes and Scouring Pads
It’s now possible to get fully biodegradable cleaning wipes and scouring pads. For example these walnut shell scouring pads are entirely biodegradable and thus can go in your compost pile or in your food waste caddy. There’s no need to use wet wipes, which are terrible for the environment, and normal sponges contain a lot of plastic too. It’s worth making the switch if you’re serious about making a difference and then making sure when they are ready to be thrown away, they are composted.
What else can you do to improve how eco friendly your kitchen is?
I think it’s a good idea to have a look at what you’re throwing away and seeing if there are any alternative eco-friendly products they could be replaced with. These might be recyclable products, biodegradable products or compostable products – all of which are important when helping cut down on plastic. When considering what’s compostable, also check how long it takes. For example some nappies are being advertised as compostable, but have up to a five year compost life. In comparison, the Rave Coffee Nespresso pods that I mentioned earlier break down in 90 days. If you have a choice, go for products that break down quicker.