We already compost fruit and veg peelings, but this takes it to a whole new level. I don’t want to sound like that annoying trustafarian bloke I read about recently, who was so eco he claimed to have only two bin bags of rubbish a year (or maybe a month; the details were mired in impenetrable layers of smug). But I can’t help peeping in our main kitchen bin occasionally (every twenty minutes) to see how slowly it is filling up.
The leaflet accompanying the new compost bin has friendly drawings and colourful speech bubbles. It looks rather like a missive from my regular correspondent Mr Johnnie Boden. I am following the leaflet’s instructions to the letter. “Hey I haven’t finished,” cry the children as I eagerly snatch their plates away to scrape them into the caddy. Slightly stale bread that would once have been toasted can now be chucked away with no guilt. Hmm, seeing that written that down gives me slight pause.
Even more amazing was the leaflet’s claim that this new scheme “…can help you save money on your monthly shopping bill – for an average family that’s £50 every month = £600 a year.” Hooray! I started jumping about the kitchen planning how I was going to spend my extra 600 quid (buying more food, obviously), when Man of the House rained on my parade. “How exactly does composting save you £50 a month?” he harrumphed from behind his newspaper. Ooh he is a party pooper sometimes.
“Because you… because it… because they….” I visibly deflated.
“In fact,” Man went on, twisting the knife, “bearing in mind your new strategy to chuck out perfectly good bread, this is actually going to cost us money.” He was still sore from having to make toast with completely fresh bread.
I refused to believe that my new Johnnie Boden-type friends at the council would tell me a fib, so I re-read the leaflet to find out the source of the £600 saving. It was on page one: “We also want your household to save around £50 a month by cutting down on the food you throw away.” Oh.
I took the stale bread out of the compost bin, wiped it down, toasted it, and gave it to Man. He kindly said the faint residue of leftover pasta sauce and mouldy lettuce gave it a certain excitement lacking in usual toast.
Beth Miller, published in VivaLewes.com and Viva Lewes magazine, July 2013. Photo by Sue Fasquelle