How to compost cooked food


This week I picked up a question about how to compost cooked food on Twitter

I do love a bit of composting!

You get rid of ‘rubbish’ you no longer need and end up with something valuable and life giving in the process!

Yasmeen, who runs the Dry Goods Store in London – where you can buy what you need without packaging – tweeted this:

tweet about composting cooked food
She went on to explain “Our council don’t do food waste bins so wondered which one would be easy starting point for a novice to put in garden. Ideally I’d like a bin that would handle both cooked food waste and peelings.”

In the ideal world, we wouldn’t have any food waste at all. But even the most ardent of zero wasters end up with it on occasions, so being able to compost cooked food is a number one weapon in avoiding landfill.

If you want to deal with both cooked and raw food waste, you have three options – A bokashi bin system, a Green Johanna or a wormery.

A bokashi bin is ideal if you’re already doing traditional composting at home, but need to transform your cooked food waste.

The Green Johanna is perfect if you’ve got a decent sized garden, are not currently doing any composting at all and want to get started.

The wormery is great for people living on their own, for houses with no garden or those who don’t do much cooking at home.

[Tweet “Want to #compost cooked food waste? Choose wormery, bokashi or green johanna”]

The Green Johanna

The Green Johanna is a hot composter that can deal with all your peels, cores and cooked food waste including bones, meat and fish.

It looks like a plastic compost bin and, unlike a traditional compost bin you need a shady sheltered spot in the garden to put it. A traditional compost bin prefers more warmth.

You put a few centimetres of garden waste in the bottom and then start layering things!

For every 2 layers of food you put in, add one layer of garden waste such as twigs, leaves or grass clippings.

Eventually you’ll end up with compost fit for anyone to grow their marrows in!


A Bokashi System

A Bokashi bin sits on your kitchen worksurface (or by the back door if you have a tiny kitchen) and you fill it with your kitchen scraps.

A bokashi bin will deal with dairy, meat, fish and small bones as well as regular peels and cores.

When you put any new food into the bokashi bin, you cover it with a layer of special bran which helps everything ferment.

You usually have two bins – one on the go, and another fermenting – once the bin is full you need to leave it a couple of weeks for full fermentation to take place.

You can then empty your bokashi bin safely onto a regular compost heap (donate to a friend or local allotment if you don’t have your own compost heap).

You also get a liquid fertiliser from a bokashi which is fantastic for houseplants and can even be used as a safe drain cleaner!


Three safe and easy ways to compost cooked food waste Click To Tweet



A wormery is best suited to someone living on their own or a couple who don’t eat at home often. If you have no garden at all, you can put a wormery on a balcony, outside the backdoor or even in a cool shed.

Although healthy worms will munch through several times their own weight in food, you are limited as to what you can put in there, as well as the amount it will hold.

The scrapings from your cereal bowl or that last mouthful of dinner are perfect for a wormery.

But it won’t deal with meat bones like the other two systems.

And neither do worms like onion skins or citrus. And if you put potato peelings in there, you’ll end up with them growing! (She speaks from experience!).

If you want an easy ‘first time’ project though and want enough fertiliser and compost for a couple of houseplants, a wormery is a great thing for transforming your leftovers into something valuable.


What about you? How do you deal with cooked food waste?

Posted in

Rachelle Strauss


  1. Kirsten Downer on September 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Hi, I tried the Bokashi system but it didn’t work. I could never work out why. It stank, and cleaning it out was a nightmare. You’d need a gasmask.

    Green Johanna sounds better, but it could still attract rats. Perhaps a post about how to avoid rats getting in?

  2. heather taylor on September 5, 2017 at 5:51 pm

    We use a green cone digester. They work great and can put all food waste into it.

  3. […] *Note: for those looking to compost cooked foods and meats, it is possible but you’ll need to use a different method. […]

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