97% of UK households don’t compost. Britain forgets the art of composting

Massive waste as majority put food scraps into the bin

A huge majority of Britons have never knowingly composted food or garden waste, a new survey has revealed.

Figures obtained by a major UK waste and recycling company finds that most British households throw compostable waste straight into the bin, even if council collection facilities exist.

According to BusinessWaste.co.uk commercial waste disposal experts, 97% of British households have never used a compost heap to recycle their food waste, meaning that thousands of tons of unused food goes directly to landfill or incineration every year.

“We already know that 15 million tons of perfectly good food is wasted every year,” BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall says, “And a fair proportion of this could easily be composted, either at home or by councils.”

Unfortunately, most Britons don’t keep a compost heap or a compost bin, with many citing lack of time, lack of gardening skill, or lack of motivation for doing so.

According to the BusinessWaste.co.uk survey of 3015 households:

Do you have a compost heap or compost bin in your garden?
• Yes: 3%
• No: 97%

Asked why their household doesn’t compost food waste, the top answers were:
• I don’t have a garden 15%
• Lack of time 32%
• Lack of gardening skill 20%
• Lack of motivation 28%

BusinessWaste.co.uk notes that the biggest barriers to domestic composting are time and motivation, a far cry from the days when virtually every garden in the country grew its own food.

“The major difference is that we’re now in an age of convenience and plenty,” said Mark Hall, “there’s little motivation in growing your own food when it’s literally a click of a mouse away.”

With far fewer people gardening for food, it means that waste that used to be composted is now simply thrown away, even if there’s a council composting scheme available.

BusinessWaste.co.uk found that people still don’t compost their waste even if it’s picked up from their front door every week.

If your council takes away food and garden waste for compost, do you take part in the scheme?
• Yes: 10%
• No: 90%

Of the people who answered ‘no’ to this question, many objected to the extra charge levied by councils to remove green waste. Surveyed households were more likely to answer ‘yes’ where green waste removal was free as part of regular bin rounds.

While some councils make great efforts to encourage households to recycle as much as possible, including special offers on compost bins, it’s clear that a combination of factors means that levels of food waste are still likely to remain high.

“It’s easy to hark back to the post-war years of ‘waste not, want, not’,” says Mark Hall, “But separating our waste and recycling to the maximum is exactly the sort of thing we should be doing.”

“Britain has got so used to getting everything out of a packet, we’ve forgotten the art of growing our own.”

BusinessWaste.co.uk have written a easy to follow guide on how to compost which can be accessed by clicking here

Learn about compostable plastics

free bins icon.

Have your waste collected

Get a fast FREE quote for your waste collection 0800 211 83 90

  • Free quote within 1 hr
  • Any type of waste
  • FREE bins and delivery
  • We cover all of the UK