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 ( 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.

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