No bones about it: a smart tip for zero food waste

Just a quick tip today about how to recycle all your household food waste. I was at a friend’s house on the weekend and I asked her what she did with her bones from cooking. She said that she put them in the bin. Since she composted everything else, I had just assumed she would compost the bones too. Then it occurred to me that maybe people don’t know how to deal with them!

Here is what we do. Put all the bones in a plastic bag in the freezer. Add to the same bag whenever you have bones. When it’s full or inconveniently large, use the bones in a hot compost or just simply dig a hole 30cm deep and bury them. That should be deep enough to keep rodents etc. away. Make sure your doggy doesn’t see you though! As long as you don’t let the bag defrost, you can keep using it.
Why should you bother with the bones? Although uncooked bones are a hundred times better than cooked bones, they still contain small amounts of nitrogen,  quite a lot of phosphorus and many other trace elements. Our land needs every bit of help we can give it to grow food. Otherwise it ends up at land fill and becomes a methane issue. Unfortunately 59% of landfill in Australia is organic matter. It’s easy to make a positive difference just by changing a few simple habits in the kitchen.


About Healthy Harvest Kitchen Gardens

Healthy Harvest provides a permaculture-based kitchen garden service for existing food growers and people who are inspired to grow food. We sell fresh chemical-free seedlings, seeds and seasonal produce. We also provide educational workshops, courses, gardening consultations and services. We can help with new vegetable garden designs, maintenance of established gardens, or converting and improving existing gardens ready for growing food. Please see our website for more information: Check out our blog at for news and interesting bits and pieces.

Posted on November 21, 2012, in Compost, Soil, Sustainability. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. We collect the bones in the freezer until we have enough to make a stock, then hot compost them. Cooking them in a stock seems to help speed up the composting process, plus you get three ‘bites of the cherry’ – the original meal, homemade stock for future meals, and extra nutrients in your compost.

  2. Brilliant. Never even considered bones in compost or burying in garden. Will be doing now though! Appreciated.

  3. Thanks for the tip Dan and a bigger thanks for sharpening the kitchen knives and sharing your technique. What a difference!

  4. Reblogged this on rabidlittlehippy and commented:
    Have you ever wondered what to do with the bones from your cooking? I had no idea that they can be composted! A great way to help keep ur rubbish bins less full and give back even more to our gardens and the earth.

  5. I had no idea. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Thanks for the tip, you know we already freeze our cooked bones so as not to smell the bin out as we don’t have waste collection here. Didn’t even think to bury them like we do uncooked ones. Less in the bin is always good.

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