As the festive season approaches, the concept of eco-friendly celebrations is gaining momentum. One of the key aspects of this green revolution is the use of compostable Christmas decorations. In this article, we explore various ideas and tips for incorporating compostable decorations into your Christmas festivities, aligning with the increasingly popular trend of sustainable living.
Why Choose Compostable Decorations?
Compostable Christmas decorations are not only environmentally friendly, but they also offer a creative and unique touch to your holiday decor. By opting for compostable options, you contribute to reducing waste, minimising your carbon footprint, and supporting sustainable practices.
DIY Compostable Decor Ideas
Homemade compostable decorations are not just eco-friendly, they’re also a fun way to engage with family and friends. Here are a few fun DIY ideas, which can make a really festive impact on your home.
Natural Compostable Wreath
A circular frame (create one from flexible branches like willow or grapevine).
Greenery (such as pine branches, holly, eucalyptus, or any other compostable foliage).
Additional natural decorations (like pine cones, dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and berries).
Use natural twine instead of floral wire.
Create the Base: Shape your flexible branches into a circle and secure the ends with twine.
Attach Greenery: Take your greenery and attach it to the frame with twine. Start from one point and work around the circle, ensuring that each new bunch overlaps the stems of the previous one to hide the wire/twine.
Add Decorations: Once the greenery is in place, add your pine cones, dried orange slices, cinnamon sticks, and berries. Secure these with additional twine.
Hang Your Wreath: Attach a piece of twine for hanging, or simply use the frame itself to hang the wreath.
Fabric Ribbons from Natural Fibres
Natural fibre fabric (like cotton or hemp)
Natural dye (optional)
Cut the Fabric: Cut the fabric into long strips of your desired width for ribbons.
Optional Dyeing: If you wish to colour your ribbons, use natural dyes made from berries, beets, or other natural sources.
Use as Decor: Tie your fabric ribbons around your tree, wreath, or use them to wrap gifts.
Paper Stars and Garlands
Recycled or biodegradable paper
Natural twine or thread
Instructions for Paper Stars:
Cut Star Shapes: Cut the paper into star shapes. You can fold the paper to cut symmetrical stars.
String the Stars: Punch a small hole at one point of each star and string them onto the twine.
Instructions for Paper Garlands:
Cut Paper Strips: Cut long strips of paper.
Create Paper Rings: Form the strips into loops and secure them by stapling or gluing the ends. Loop each new strip through the previous one to create a chain effect.
Purchasing Compostable Decorations
For those who prefer ready-made options, there are numerous eco-friendly brands offering compostable Christmas decorations. Look for decorations made from materials like bamboo, recycled paper, or natural fabrics.
Post-Christmas, ensure your compostable decorations are disposed of correctly. Composting them is a fantastic way to return nutrients to the earth and close the loop in your sustainable holiday cycle.
Compostable Christmas decorations are a wonderful way to celebrate the festive season while being kind to our planet. They can be a fun family activity and are a great way to involve children in learning about sustainability during the holiday season. Remember, the key is to use materials that can be easily composted or recycled after the holidays, ensuring a green and environmentally friendly celebration.
By choosing sustainable decor options, you’re playing a part in preserving the environment for future generations. Embrace this eco-friendly trend and make your Christmas a green, compostable celebration!
Are you looking to reduce food waste at home and play your part in conserving the environment? You’re in the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through some simple steps you can take to curb waste and how composting can be a game-changer.
Why It’s Important to Reduce Food Waste
When you reduce food waste, you’re not just saving money; you’re also: Helping Combat Climate Change (decomposing food in landfills produces methane, a harmful greenhouse gas); Conserving Resources (wasting food means wasted water, energy, and labour that went into its production); and Supporting Ethics (with millions hungry, reducing food waste is a step towards a just society).
Easy-to-Follow Tips to Reduce Food Waste
Know Your Needs: Plan meals to ensure you only buy what you’ll consume.
Smart Shopping: Always use a list to avoid unnecessary purchases.
Decode Expiry Dates: Learn the difference between “use-by” and “best before” dates.
Store Smart: Proper food storage extends shelf life. For instance, keep bananas away from other fruits to avoid over-ripening.
First In, First Out: Use older items before new ones.
Serve Sensibly: Avoid oversized portions which lead to leftovers.
Love Leftovers: Reuse them in new dishes or as tomorrow’s lunch.
Embrace Imperfections: Buy “ugly” produce; they taste the same!
Preserve More: Freeze, dry, or can extra food.
Whole Food Approach: Use every edible part of the food, like broccoli stems.
Avoid Buffet Traps: At buffets, take only what you’ll eat.
Donations Work: Share excess food with those in need.
Spread Awareness: Talk about the importance to reduce food waste.
Go Local: Support local markets to reduce transport waste.
Monitor & Adjust: Keep track of what you throw away and adjust your habits.
The Composting Connection
Composting is an integral part of the solution to reduce food waste. Starting a compost bin at home allows you to recycle kitchen scraps, turning them into nutrient-rich soil additives. For effective composting, it’s essential to maintain a balance between ‘greens’ (nitrogen-rich materials) and ‘browns’ (carbon-rich materials) to ensure optimal decomposition. This rich compost not only enriches garden soil, making it more fertile, but it also helps the soil retain moisture more effectively, reducing the need for frequent watering. Furthermore, by composting, we significantly reduce the volume of food waste that would otherwise head to the landfill.
To reduce food waste is not only an economic choice but an environmental and ethical imperative. Couple that with composting, and you have a holistic approach to sustainable living. Start with one tip, and gradually incorporate more into your routine. Every step counts in our collective effort to reduce food waste and create a greener planet.
Our composting facility here at Waste Wise is a beacon of sustainable waste management, transforming organic waste into nutrient-rich compost, promoting both waste reduction and environmental preservation. As the article underscores the significance of minimising food waste and the advantages of composting at a personal level, Waste Wise showcases this on a larger scale. Our innovative composting techniques mirror the easy tips provided, offering a real-world example of how these practices can be amplified to manage waste efficiently and sustainably in commercial settings.
In the realm of eco-friendly products, two terms often get intertwined or mistaken for one another: biodegradable and compostable. While both sound like ideal solutions for our waste problem, understanding their distinctions is important for sustainable choices. This article delves into the differences between biodegradable and compostable materials, aiming to debunk common misconceptions.
Definitions: Biodegradable vs Compostable
Biodegradable products break down and return to nature. Ideally, over time, they degrade from the actions of naturally occurring microorganisms like bacteria and fungi. However, the duration and by-products of this decomposition can vary widely. Items can take anywhere from a few days to years to break down, depending on the environmental conditions and materials in question.
Compostable items, on the other hand, are organic substances that can be used as a soil additive post decomposition. For an item to be labelled as compostable, it generally should decompose in a compost setting within 90 days. Moreover, it should not release harmful residues and should be capable of supporting plant life.
Biodegradable products are designed to break down into natural elements, which means they might not persist in the environment as long as non-degradable products. But just because an item is biodegradable doesn’t mean it’s free from environmental harm. There are a number of challenges:-
Ambiguous Timeframe: “Biodegradable” does not provide a specific timeframe for decomposition. Some products might take years or even decades to break down.
Toxic Residues: While biodegradable products break down, they may release toxic residues or pollutants. Some so-called biodegradable plastics degrade into microplastics, tiny fragments that can persist in the environment and harm marine life.
Methane Emissions: Like compostable products, if biodegradable items end up in anaerobic environments like landfills, they can produce methane.
False Security: The term “biodegradable” can sometimes offer consumers a false sense of eco-friendliness. Just because an item is labelled as biodegradable does not mean it’s the best environmental choice.
True compostable products offer more environmental benefits, such as:-
Soil Enrichment: Compostable products decay into organic matter that helps improve soil health. This can rejuvenate the soil, aiding in plant growth, and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers.
Carbon Sequestration: Composting captures and stores carbon in the form of organic matter, which can be a valuable tool in combatting climate change.
Reduced Methane Emissions: When organic matter decays in landfills without air, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Composting, however, is an aerobic process (requiring oxygen) and primarily produces carbon dioxide, which has a lower global warming potential than methane.
Look out for certifications on compostable products. In many regions, a genuine compostable product will have a certification to back its claim. This ensures that it meets the standards of decomposition and non-toxicity. Biodegradable products, however, may lack standardised certifications.
Making Informed Choices
Before buying products labelled as biodegradable or compostable, it’s wise to:
Research the product and its decomposition requirements.
Understand local waste management systems – not every region has facilities to compost.
Opt for certified compostable products when possible.
Remember that reducing and reusing are still the top methods for sustainable living.
Why Biodegradable Products Shouldn’t be Sent to Composting Facilities
It is essential to recognise that “biodegradable” and “compostable” products are not synonymous and shouldn’t be treated as such. Sending biodegradable products to composting facilities can pose challenges.
Biodegradable products are designed to break down over an unspecified timeframe, which might be longer than the period required for composting materials. This can disrupt the composting process, slowing down the decomposition of genuinely compostable items.
Furthermore, as biodegradable items break down, they may release non-organic compounds or microplastics, contaminating the compost output. Thus, mixing biodegradable products with compostable waste can jeopardise the integrity and quality of the compost produced, rendering it less beneficial or even harmful to the environment.
Waste Wise operates three advanced composting facilities processing over 200,000 tonnes per annum of garden and food waste. We convert this biowaste into of BSI PAS 100 certified compost for use in a range of high-quality organic soil improvers, growing media and top soils. Click here for more information about our composting facilities.
Autumn, with its rich tapestry of colours and cooler temperatures, is a golden period for gardeners and composting enthusiasts. As leaves tumble and summer’s bounty finishes, there’s a wealth of materials ready to be transformed into black gold for next year’s garden.
The team at Waste Wise specialise in commercial composting, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a composting pro at home too! Here are our top tips on layering your compost bin with the best offerings of the season.
Start with a Base of Twigs and Branches
Begin your autumn compost pile with a 6-inch layer of twigs, small branches, or straw at the bottom. This coarse material aids in aeration, preventing the compost from becoming too compacted or waterlogged.
Add a Layer of Fallen Leaves
Autumn is synonymous with falling leaves. Gather leaves like oak, ash, or beech, and shred them if possible, to speed up decomposition. Layering these carbon-rich leaves provides the foundation for your compost pile.
Incorporate Green Matter
Sprinkle in fresh grass clippings, spent annuals, and vegetable garden remnants. These nitrogen-rich materials help balance the carbon from the leaves and accelerate the composting process.
Fruit and Veggie Scraps from the Kitchen
Autumn harvest might mean you’re processing a lot of fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to add peels, cores, and other scraps to the pile. They’re an excellent source of nutrients.
Enhance with Natural Boosters
A sprinkle of garden soil or finished compost acts as an inoculant, introducing beneficial microbes. Crushed eggshells can also be added for a calcium boost.
Throw in Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags
Used coffee grounds and tea bags provide a touch of nitrogen and help maintain a balanced compost mix.
Add More Leaves
As autumn progresses, you’ll have a continuous supply of leaves. Keep adding them, especially when you incorporate wetter materials like food scraps to maintain balance.
Layer with Cardboard and Newspaper
Thin strips of cardboard or non-glossy newspaper serve as a carbon source and help absorb excess moisture.
Maintain Moisture Balance
Your compost should have the consistency of a wrung-out sponge. If it’s too dry, sprinkle some water. If it’s too wet, add more leaves or paper.
Turn the Pile Regularly
Every week or two, turn your compost pile to introduce air, which aids the aerobic decomposition process and prevents foul odours.
Add a Final Layer of Leaves
As winter approaches, add a final layer of leaves on top. This acts as an insulation blanket, keeping the pile warmer and aiding decomposition through the colder months.
Here at Waste Wise, our strategically located composting facilities utilise advanced technologies to efficiently and cost effectively convert over 200,000 tonnes of biowaste per annum into a range of high quality, industry certified organic compost products.
We have over 20 years’ experience in composting, and are continually improving our process, increasing capacity and reducing costs whilst maximising our positive impact on the environment.
By layering the best of the season in your compost bin, you are also helping to reduce waste. So, grab that rake, gather those leaves, and let the composting magic begin!
During the last 3 years the use of compost derived from organic waste by gardeners has increased considerably in the UK. The main reason is that the extraction of natural peat deposits, previously used as garden and potting compost, has been banned by the end of 2023 to save the peatland ecology and protect the wildlife of dwindling natural peat bogs.
Composted organic waste has thus become an increasingly significant source of commercial compost products bagged and sold in garden centres and supermarkets and a great alternative source of plant growing media for a nation of gardeners.
Biodegradable waste is big business. Some 60% of all waste generated by households in the UK can be composted. * This can and should be treated to produce a product grade compost that serves both amateur gardener and agricultural business – as well as reducing the amount of waste to landfill where is would create hugely environmentally harmful methane gas.
But how green is organic waste?
The use of this recycled compost, created from residential organic waste helps improve soil fertility but if not managed properly in the treatment process can also be a source of microplastics that are present after the composting process.
Microplastics are tiny plastic particles that result from the breakdown of larger plastics and as a pollutant can be harmful to the environment and animal health. Generally, microplastics are plastic debris less than five millimetres in length, or about the size of a sesame seed.
The problem, however, starts at the very beginning of the waste journey where the plastic waste goes in the wrong bin.
To reduce microplastics the whole supply chain needs to contribute to ensuring that the compost produced, which is then spread onto the land, is clean and free of plastics.
This clearly starts with the householder doing their bit and continues with the local authority tightly regulating the collections. The waste operator then must play an important role in removing the unwanted plastics and other materials still present in the waste, prior to and during the composting process.
It is both time consuming and costly to remove the contamination from the waste once it gets this far down its journey. Contamination often enters the treatment site in the form of plastic bags, plant pots, plastic ties, labels, bulb nets, and other such items thrown in with kitchen waste, hedge, and grass cuttings. They are not always easy to spot and the composting process often causes disintegration of larger plastic items into smaller microplastics.
At Wastewise we use a range of methods that involve trommels and screens as well as hand-picking to reduce plastic contamination. Despite these interventions, it is not possible to capture and remove every scrap of plastic.
The ideal solution is a comprehensive approach that must start with Educating the householder and reminding them to be vigilant with organic waste content. Next this approach involves improved waste collection practices and increased efforts to reduce plastic waste at its source. As waste processors the final piece of the puzzle is continued improvements in plastic removal and clean up technology on site and continued vigilance. We hope that on-going and improved collaboration will help reduce the microplastic content further.