Energy Saving, Home and Garden

Save Energy With One Simple Step #7

I’m up to tip number seven in my weekly series of how to save energy simply.  If you missed any then you can find all the tips here.

Today we’re going back to the fridge and freezer with tip number seven:

pack your freezer to save energy

Fill For Efficiency.

Is your freezer looking a little bit on the empty side?  Perhaps it’s a few days before you do a food shop and all you’ve got in there is a bag of frozen peas and a tub of indiscriminate contents (we’ve all been there!)?  Or maybe you never really have much food in your freezer to begin with.  Well, you could be pouring energy down the drain.

Freezers work best when they are full.  This is because freezers expend most energy when they have to cool down the warm air that gets in when you open the door to take food out.  A packed to the brim freezer means there is less room for warm air, and the frozen goods in the freezer cool down any wam air that does make it’s way in, meaning your freezer doesn’t have to work quite so hard.

So go wild and pack your freezer to the brim!  You don’t have to spend a fortune on food – plastic bottles filled with water will do the trick, as will freezer bags filled with ice cubes.  Styrofoam blocks will also do just the job.

A handy bonus is that if you have a power-cut it will take much longer for your food to defrost.

fridge tips to save energy

Fridges are slightly different beasts.  If you pack your fridge too tightly then you’ll over-work your fridge, using much more energy that you need to.  Your food will cool too much, and perhaps even freeze, and trust me, nobody wants frozen lettuce.  Other food might not cool enough, and nobody wants a tummy bug either.  Especially not frozen lettuce and a tummy bug at the same time!  So make so you don’t overpack your fridge and that air can circulate easily.

Again, you won’t save hundreds of pounds but if you change your habits and implement little energy saving steps here and there, like the ones that I’ve mentioned throughout this series (tips that don’t take too much effort), then these savings will soon add up, which is always a good thing!

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Garden, Home and Garden

How to Compost

how to compost

how to compost

Let’s talk about how to compost today.

Did you know that we Brits we throw an estimated 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink in the bin each year?  A staggering amount, I’m sure you’ll agree!

While undoubtedly the best way to reduce food waste is to plan your food shopping carefully and freezing leftovers , composting also has a vital role in reducing the amount of food sent to landfill.  Composting kitchen waste isn’t hard to do and, contrary to popular opinion, isn’t a smelly job if done correctly.  So I thought I’d show you how to compost at home, odour free!

1.  What You’ll Need in the Kitchen to Compost

First of all, you need a lidded kitchen caddy to hold your kitchen waste, like one of these (affiliate link).  If like me you have a tiny kitchen then you can even get one that hooks on to the wall or inside a cupboard.  You may also want some biodegradable bags to line your caddy.  I personally prefer to use the bags as it means you don’t have to wash your caddy every time you empty it – anything to avoid extra chores!

garden composter compost bin

2.  What You’ll Need in The Garden to Compost

Now you’ve got your kitchen set up, it’s time to think about your garden.  A garden composter is invaluable.  You can make your own, like the one pictured above, but we just have one of the black plastic ones, which we find is good for trapping heat and helping our food waste break down quickly.  The best place to site it is in a sunny spot on bare soil.  If you don’t have any bare soil and are placing your composter on slabs or tarmac then make sure you place a layer of paper and twigs at the bottom before you start emptying your compost in the composter.  This help creatures such as worms, essential for composting, to help colonise your composter.

what can you compost

3.  How to Compost

Now you’re all set up you can start composting your kitchen waste.  You can compost all sorts of kitchen scraps and waste – from fruit and vegetable peelings, fruit and vegetable scraps, salad leaves, tea bags, coffee grounds and filter papers, egg shells and more.

You don’t have to empty the caddy every day – just when it gets full.  In our household (of three) we find we empty our caddy into the composter every two to three days, and our kitchen is odour free.  If you live by yourself you may want to empty it before it gets full as you will likely be generating less waste.

Conveniently, you can add your garden waste too – add any flowers, spent plants from your garden, nettles, rhubarb leaves and grass cuttings to your composter. It’s also a very good idea to add cardboard, egg boxes, scrunched up paper/newspaper, fallen leaves, twigs, etc.  These are slower to rot, add carbon (essential for providing energy for the worms and other creatures in your composter) and create air pockets.  These pockets provide vital oxygen to your compost, and help stop your composter from smelling.  It’s particularly important to do this if you’ve added grass cuttings to help promote the flow of oxygen.

There are a few composting no no’s: meat, fish, cooked vegetables, dairy products, weeds with seed heads, dog and cat poo, and nappies (even the biodegradable ones).

real compost

In your composter your kitchen and garden waste can take anywhere between 3 and 12 months to produce garden-ready compost. Your compost will be fantastically nutrient rich and great in borders, vegetable and flower beds, for potting plants in, and for feeding shrubs and trees.  Your compost may have twiggy bits in it – you can sieve these out if you are particularly pernickity about your compost!

How you’ve found this guide on how to compost useful!  If you have any other questions on how to compost then do feel free to ask in the comments below!

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