Celebrating kitchen scraps – elevating their place in our kitchens
Kitchen scraps aren’t waste, they’re a valuable resource. From the farm to the table and including the refrigerated trucks and shops along the way a lot of resources have gone into their production. Just because we might not eat the top of the capsicum bearing the tough stem, or the potato peels when we’re craving creamy mash, the scraps still hold quite a lot in the way of nutrients. You can consider them free fertilizer! Well, free apart from the work needed to convert them back to plant-usable forms (or get us to do it for you 😉
To celebrate this resource, we should give the scraps a rightful place in our kitchens. Some people keep their kitchen scraps out of sight (eg. under the sink) but with the risk that they might be forgotten about, in which case they can indeed get a little gross. Also, many of us aspire to having a beautiful kitchen, despite the never-ending mountain of dishes. With this in mind, I recently surveyed the options for beautiful and functional kitchen caddies.
What do we mean by ‘countertop kitchen caddy’?
Using the term caddy is really useful here. A few of these items will be sold as ‘compost bins’ but that term is misleading when these containers are not for carrying out the actual composting, rather a transient storage place for scraps on their way to composting. With council and local government scraps collections (most commonly a FOGO scheme, for Food Organics in with Garden Organics) they supply households with a caddy so that you don’t have to walk to the outside wheelie bin every single time you do some food prep. Our Capital Scraps buckets are also intended to serve as a countertop caddy. Some Capital Scraps contributors use a smaller bucket inside and empty that into a larger bucket a few times throughout the week.
Beauty is one thing – less virgin plastic is even better!
Plastic is the most suitable material for a scraps caddy. There are some metal containers sold as compost caddies but it’s easy to quickly rust one of those out. Some metal caddies come with an internal plastic sleeve. At Capital Scraps we always try to avoid buying virgin plastic. There are plenty of suitable buckets being discarded all of the time. We have grand plans to gather up more of these and put them to good use (see below).
But if you’re looking for something more presentable there are some options that are made out of recycled plastic, or from bio-based materials:
This one claims to be made from 100% recycled plastic, comes in a range of colours and can be hung as well as placed on the counter. A bamboo/resin caddy is available from a couple of suppliers (Little Pepino, Urban Revolution Australia).
Both options above are around the 3-4L size and are a little pricey. Similar options that nonetheless might fit your style include: this one with a fliptop lid, this one in blue and purple shades, this one, this one, this one comes in pink!, this one is quite funky with a different shape. This one comes in a few different colours, has multiple options to hang it or fix it to walls and doors and is also affordable!
This general storage option that can perform as a larger caddy is better value and still nicely styled. This 10L option is even bigger, intended for pet food storage but would serve well as a caddy for someone who cooks a lot. This 10L option from Ikea forms part of a complete source separation system for all waste streams. Another great option are these widely available all-purpose storage containers.
Why all the fuss about caddy options?
We want everyone to have the best possible experience with kitchen scraps. But our main mission is climate action. We’ve discovered it’s just as efficient to empty caddies and buckets ‘on the fly’ on our collection routes as it is to swap them for a clean bucket. The buckets usually just need a quick rinse after emptying after all (sometimes not even that!). Our standard subscription will now cover a bucket emptying option. The advantage here is that you can use whichever container or caddy best suits your kitchen or style 🙂
For those that like the added service of a clean bucket each week we can offer that on our higher ‘pay it forward subscription’. In this case a branded Capital Scraps bucket, in standard sizes, will be swapped each week.
We quickly learned that standardising certain parts of our operation assists us to get the work done quickly and without additional issues (eg. we can’t be fumbling with different sized lids in winter while visiting 100-odd addresses). Getting hundreds of ‘seconds’ buckets from the Jalna factory has been a godsend it terms of streamlining our bucket swaps.
With the ‘bucket emptying’ option we can rescue and use all of the random buckets though! We’ll be sure to find one that is the right size for your household.
Whether you’re proud of saving a bucket from landfill, or really enjoy your colour matched caddy in your kitchen we hope that the end goal of elevating the status of kitchen scraps becomes a talking point so that all of your friends get in on the act too. Because a corn husk here or an avocado peel there might not seem like much but together we can make a huge difference.
-Brook Clinton, Capital Scraps Founder and Manager.