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Should You Compost Cooked Food Waste?

compost-cooked-food-waste
compost-cooked-food-waste

Should you compost cooked food waste in your home composter? Read on and see.

There were a lot of really useful and helpful comments in response to my post on dealing with food waste, and my dilemma of what to do with cooked food waste.  However, what really surprised me were a couple of comments from readers saying that they compost this kind of waste, or asking me why I didn’t just chuck it in our composter?

I’ve never composted cooked food waste. In fact, the only things I put in there are things like fruit and vegetable peelings; tea bags; coffee grounds; eggshells; paper; cardboard; and the like. Therefore, this was a bit of a revelation to me.  As our council doesn’t offer food waste collection, all of our cooked food waste has just gone in the bin.  So I began wondering, should I actually just compost it?

Why You Shouldn’t Compost Cooked Food Waste

The traditional advice has always been to not compost cooked food waste in a standard composter.  Zero Waste Scotland, Get Composting, and Love Food Hate Waste all specifically say not to.  Apparently composting cooked food creates very dense and wet compost. Composting this kind of waste can also attract pests, such as rats and flies. What’s more, it can create some pretty pungent odours.

Experts say if you have a Green Cone, Green Johanna (doesn’t it sound like a song?!) a Jora Bin, or a Hot Bin then you can compost most types of cooked food, but in a standard compost bin or heap then cooked food is a no go.

My Questions For You

I couldn’t find anything to back up composting cooked food waste in a standard composter, but it’s clear you guys are doing just that!  I must just be a stickler for the rules and hadn’t thought about giving it a go!  So as I’m interested, and I bet others are too, I have a ton of questions for anyone that’s composting this kind of waste:

  • Are you using a conventional compost bin or heap?
  • Does it smell?
  • Have you noticed rats?
  • Are you over-run with flies?
  • What’s your compost like?
  • Does cooked food waste take longer to break down than raw waste?

Do tell all in the comments below, or drop me a line via email (moralfibres@gmail.com) or Twitter or Facebook.  I’ll make sure I add any messages in the comments below as I’m sure they’ll be useful to other readers.

PS: do check out my top tips for composting at home.

Home, Home and Garden

Best Green Energy Suppliers

green electricity suppliers

Looking for the best renewable energy suppliers? Read on.

I’ve been doing a bit of research into the best green energy suppliers lately, as we’d like to switch to a renewable supplier.  As well as finding out about each company, I also wanted to find out who would be the cheapest supplier for my region.  

We’re not rich by any means. We both work for charities, me part-time. We also have colossal child care bills on top of our mortgage and everything else.  As such, I always assumed that we couldn’t afford to switch to a green energy supplier.  I was pleasantly surprised by some of the quotes. Switching to a 100% renewable electricity supply could only end up costing us an extra £12 a year – just £1.09 a month!

What Is Renewable Electricity?

Before I get into the green energy suppliers, firstly, I just wanted to help understand a little bit about electricity.  

When you switch to a green energy supplier, the electricity that comes into your home still comes from the national grid.  It doesn’t affect the actual power. The power in your home will not be 100% green.  

The one thing it does affect is where the electricity on the national grid comes from. If you have a 100% renewable tariff your supplier has to match the power you have used by putting the same amount of renewable energy back into the national grid.  

Therefore, by taking a few minutes out to switch to a green energy supplier you’re making a big difference to the environment without changing your behaviour.

best green energy suppliers uk

The Best Green Energy Suppliers

Please note all quotes are based on the average household consumption of  3200kw per year. It’s also based on my region (Southern Scotland).  Prices will vary from region to region so this aims to be a very rough guide.  Prices do go up and down so do check with each supplier for an accurate quote for your region.

Good Energy

Good Energy Electricity is currently the greenest UK electricity supplier. They source their electricity purely from UK renewables. These being solar power, wind power, and hydropower.  They also score the highest in the Ethical Consumer guide to green energy companies, with a score of 15.5 out of 20.

They have one “Good Energy” tariff (available as a standard rate or an Economy 7 rate). This is 100% renewable and comes with a pledge from Good Energy saying that it will “invest in renewable heat generation projects that will benefit local communities“, as an additional environmental commitment.

Prices vary depending on what part of the country you live in. From a 15.48p standing charge a day if you live in the East Midlands, rising to 21.09p if you live in the north of Scotland. Therefore, it’s worth checking out the tariff to see how you would fare.  I was quoted a standing charge of 19.2p a day and a 14.94p unit cost, coming in at £548.16 a year.   They do offer a reduced gas unit rate if you also switch your gas supply to Good Energy too.

Green Energy

Green Energy is a competitively priced green energy supplier, who says its prices are competitive not only within the green market but also the entire utility industry.  

They say they want to challenge the idea that ‘being green’ is about making the extra effort and paying extra.  They want people to stop talking about green energy as an ‘alternative’ as it makes sense for everyone.  It’s almost like they read Moral Fibres or something!

The Tarrifs

Again, price varies by region and by tariff.  This is where I feel they fall down. Good Energy has one straightforward tariff. However, Green Energy has three different tariffs – unhelpfully named “Tap”, “Still” and “Sparkling”.

This means nothing to me in terms of electricity.  It’s a bit confusing, to say the least, especially on a page headed as “simple tariffs”.  It’s so confusing that they’ve made a video to explain the difference between the tariffs, which speaks volumes about how hard it is to understand.  

From what I can gather, Sparkling is 100% renewable energy; Still is low-cost green energy and Tap is, well, to be honest, I’m not really sure.  It’s the cheapest but I’m not sure if it’s green or not.  I’m also not sure what the difference is between “100% renewable” and “low-cost green energy”. It’s just a bit too greenwash for my liking.

Their Electricity

On the plus side, their electricity comes from a variety of natural sources. They score 15 out of 20 from Ethical Consumer for their ethics. And they also allow all of their customers to become shareholders for free. Therefore, Green Energy is definitely worth investigating if you can get your head around the jargon.

For 100% renewable electricity I was quoted a 27.39p standing charge per day; and 15.02p per unit, coming in at £580.61 per year.  Sadly their quote didn’t live up to the hype. It was the most expensive quote I received, with a difference of £77. 97 between this and the lowest quote.

renewable energy suppliers uk

Ovo

Ovo is a relatively new company, formed in 2009.  They offer a 100% renewable electricity plan, but they don’t produce the energy: they buy it from other companies.  

They say “we take our energy from the National Grid, so we can’t guarantee that what ends up in your home will be totally green. But if you go with our 100% renewable electricity plan, what we can guarantee is that for every unit you buy from us, we’ll buy one back that’s 100% renewable – and comes with Ofgem’s Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) certificate“.  This is fair enough, based on the fact that all energy comes from the national grid anyway.

For 100% renewable power my quote was a standing charge of 28.77p a day and a unit rate of 13.41p, and was estimated to come in at £504 per year.  Scoring 13.5 out of 20 from Ethical Consumer, they score a bit less than some of the others, but not by a significant amount.

Ecotricity

Ecotricity source their energy from the wind, sun, and sea.  I don’t know much about their past, other than I think at some point they have dealings in coal and nuclear.  However, they are now actively investing in installing and developing new renewable options. And in August 2013 they switched to offering a 100% green electricity tariff.  They seem to be going from strength to strength.

I found their site to be very professional and straightforward. They have only one tariff – 100% green electricity -which I found refreshingly simple after getting all confused over at Green Energy!  

As usual, the price varies across the country. I was quoted a standing charge of 32.88p a day and a unit rate of 13.66p, working out at £557 per year.  They score slightly less from Ethical Consumer than the others – 13 out of 20, again, not a significant amount of difference.

The Green Energy Suppliers Cost Comparison

To sum everything up I’ve made a little run-down of the rates, based on my quotes. This means you can see who the cheapest green energy suppliers are, and how it compares to a standard non-renewable rate:

best green electricity supplier uk

So as you can see switching to a green energy supplier like Ovo could only end up costing us £11 more a year. A paltry £1.09 a month more than our current rate.  If I reduced my chocolate habit by one bar a month it would cost us nothing more than we already pay to switch to a greener supply.

Are you with any of these green energy suppliers?  I’d love to hear your opinions on them and your experiences with them.  Or are you considering switching?

ps: if you enjoyed this post you might enjoy my series on easy energy-saving tips!

ps: I am not affiliated with any of these companies, so this post is completely unbiased.