Tag Archives: food waste

Welcoming community, grow, feed, care and compost.

Gardening in a graveyard never looked better!

Graveyard gardenSt Sidwell’s in Exeter is a welcoming inclusive group bringing people together, intent on strengthening the local community by providing a place to meet, garden, eat, learn, work, laugh and chat. All are welcome regardless of background, ability or circumstance. Facilities include a community cafe serving home made food and cakes, room hire, internet access, cookery classes and workshops, language classes, volunteering, training and work placement opportunities as well as gardens and gardening in and around the graveyard.
Based in a converted church complete with grounds and graveyard close to the center of Exeter, it is a surprisingly calm quiet oasis. In fact inhabitants include slow worms, newts, dragon flies, hedgehogs and frogs as well as countless other birds, animals and insects.
St Sidwell's

‘Waste Not Want Not’ is a policy at St Sid’s – so great care is taken to make the most of every resource, grow as much fresh produce as practical and recycle where possible. Food waste from the cafe was one of the the more difficult waste streams to deal with, so a commercial scale, catering sized, food waste recycling system was researched and a Ridan was the obvious solution. Because it can recycle all food waste, raw and cooked, including meat it is easy to use, and because it doesn’t need any electricity it can stand in the gardens where the compost will be used to grow more food.
So if you are able, pop in to St Sidwell’s in Exeter, enjoy the cafe, the food is excellent! And don’t leave without strolling through the graveyard and having a look at the excellent gardens which will be powered by the big green Ridan composter.
Food Waste Composter



Community food waste composting in ‘The Zone’

Community residents group Pentrebane Zone in South Wales grow food, run a community cafe, and a food bank distribution service, so inevitably there is some food waste which used to leave the site along with any other waste. Now they have a Ridan food waste composting system on-site which can transform up to ten tonnes of food waste per year into lovely compost. Community food waste composting at it’s best.Community Composting
Community residents and volunteers have been recognized for their great work at Pentrebane Zone such as Gardening Clubs, Family Cooking and Woodworking workshops, winning several awards along the way. The gardening club also includes a scheme to grow your own hops before supplying then to a local brewery who turn them into excellent low food miles beer, a great way to enjoy the fruits of your labors, now that is keeping it local!

Pentebane Zone collect food donated by local supermarkets and re-distribute it to whoever needs it locally. Inevitably there is some waste from this, as well as from the cafe and cookery club, all of which can now be recycled into compost for the gardens and poly tunnel in order to grow more food. The whole composting process takes about three months from food to compost, it doesn’t use any electricity and the end product is a wonderful natural moisture retaining soil enhancer.

Pentrebane zone

Returning Fertility to the Soil using Food Waste. Like a horse!

Schumacher College has developed an international reputation for nature-based education around ecology and sustainibility. They understand soil, growing, horticulture and compost. That is why they have been using a Ridan food waste composting system for over 8 years.

Gardens at Schumacher

Learning about nature, living and working with nature and living in a sustainable way have been the foundation of Schumacher teaching for over 25 years. The learning environment includes the garden and kitchen as well as the classroom, enhancing our roots and connection to the soil.
Commercial Food Waste Composter
Eating at Schumacher is a fantastic experience, most of the food has only traveled a few yards from garden to table, so it is totally fresh and wonderful. Food is grown and harvested all year, with some under glass there is never a shortage. Keeping the soil in good condition is vital and that is where compost comes in.

Garden waste, food waste and human waste are all composted in order to enrich the soil and improve fertility. The Ridan forms the basis for all food waste composting, wood pellets are added in order to create the right carbon/nitrogen ratio and what emerges goes through maturation in boxes for 8 to 10 weeks before use. There is a compost toilet, and covered windrows for humanure and garden waste respectively.

‘The Ridan is a wonderful thing’, writes Brenda. ‘It stands like a comedy horse outside the Linhay. And pretty much like a horse what goes in at one end is transformed , by the alchemic process of microbial digestion, into fresh and nutritious compost as it comes out of the other!

If you’re shy or wary of feeding the Ridantake your courage, a friend and a bucket of scraps with you for your first encounter. Don’t worry, it doesn’t bite but as you lift the lid you may swoon a little as it’s fruity odour and the moist heat of decay hit you. Tip the scraps in with a sense of virtue, follow that with a few scoops of wood pellets and away you go! Then take turns as one of you cranks the handle whilst the other watches the back end evacuating.

compost garden

compost produce

University recycling food waste since 2012

Henley Business School,  part of Reading University have been recycling food waste on-site with a Ridan composting system since 2012. Comprising two Large Ridan composters Henley have capacity to recycle nearly 21 tonnes of food waste per year should they need to. Food waste recycling duties are performed by the kitchen staff, whilst the resultant compost is quickly used up in raised beds and the kitchen garden to grow herbs and produce which goes straight back into the kitchen! Five years down the line and food waste composting in Ridan system continues as ever, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year…recycling food waste at henley

Facilities on site include the Greenlands restaurant which serves about 84000 meals a year to staff and students during the week as well as wedding and events guests at weekends.  Henley Business School is set in it’s own 30 acres of parkland alongside the River Thames in rural Oxfordshire.Henley Business School recycling food waste

Since achieving BS ISO 14001 for Environmental Management back in 2010, Greenlands has continued to improve their sustainability credentials.  They have been awarded the Gold Award for a Green Tourism Business Scheme and are one of the few UK businesses to achieve the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) Platinum Level Green Star Accreditation.

Food waste recycling at henley henley business school

National Trust recycle food waste with Ridan

Nunnington Hall is a picturesque Yorkshire manor house managed by the National Trust. Renowned for its exciting exhibitions and walled organic gardens as well as the excellent tea rooms. Organic compost for the gardens is produced on-site using a Ridan system to recycle food waste from the tea room, great for the environment and the vegetables.

This is what gardener Cailean Iain Stewart had to say about their Ridan.

“At Nunnington Hall we have been utilising the Ridan composter for about 4 years with great success. It is an efficient and reliable tumbler and has no problem coping with large amounts of kitchen waste. The finished product is very versatile; it makes an excellent pre-composter and helps as an accelerator in our home-made compost bays. It is also well beyond the interest of small mammals as well as being a sealed unit raised at height. It is the highlight of our ‘Clever Composting’ talks and always sparks intrigue from our visitors.” Cailean Iain Stewart
Nunnington Hall, National Trust.

Because the Ridan can recycle food waste of all types, including a mixture of fresh and cooked, vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and dairy it is a very practical system for all catering outlets. Operating the Ridan takes just a few minutes every day, a highly visual and satisfying process which demonstrates sustainability and closed loop food production. No power is needed for the Ridan, so running costs are tiny. Despite this the mixture inside the Ridan will naturally heat up, regularly exceeding 60 degrees Centigrade even in the winter!
National Trust RecyclingThe National Trust compost recycling

Scottish Hotel closes the loop with compost

The West Highland Hotel in Mallaig must have one of the very best views in the world, looking west over the sea to Skye, constantly changing with the seasons and the weather. But it is not all about the amazing view, with some of the worlds best produce caught, farmed and grown within a few miles of here, you can enjoy equally amazing food and drink.
Positioned in a natural wilderness, several hours drive from a city, sustainability is very important here, food and waste miles are polluting and costly, so the owners source local whenever possible and recycle on-site whatever they can. A biomass heating system fueled by local sustainable timber keeps the hotel warm, the seafood on the menu travels only a few yards from the boats to the table and now the food waste from the kitchen travels only a few yards to a Large Ridan Composting system. The food waste is nearly all preparation waste, peelings and trimmings, very little comes back from the table. But because the food is fresh and local it comes complete, so the volume of food waste is considerable. With capacity to recycle up to 400 liters of food waste each week the Large Ridan is up to the task.
seafood_waste _recycling

The next step will be using the compost produced by the Ridan to grow vegetables and salad for the hotel restaurant meaning that those food miles will become yards!


So if you fancy staying in a stunningly beautiful place and eating some of the worlds finest foods  whilst taking in a breathtaking view before savoring a single malt or two, consider the West Highland Hotel because it is treading lightly and looking after this wonderful part of Scotland.Food_waste_recycling_scotland

Luxurious English Country House Hotel recycles food waste

Alfresco dining
Hotel Recycles food waste
All food waste recycled
Recycling Centre

This hotel recycles food waste !
Brocket Hall, a quintessentially English country house hotel with butler service and a team of chefs delivering the highest culinary standards offers very luxurious accommodation and dining. The hotel is regularly used by politicians, businessmen and captains of industry to meet, discuss and relax in a discreet and convivial atmosphere or for a round of golf at one of two world class courses on site.  Also a popular wedding and party venue the Hall has 30 double rooms with a further 16 double rooms in the Melbourne Lodge.  The 5 star Auberge du Lac restaurant can seat 30 guests overlooking the lakes and 543 acre estate.
The Facilities Team at Brocket Hall are determined to reduce waste and recycle wherever possible, all waste streams were tackled but food waste was the most challenging. With so many guests and staff on site every day a quantity of food waste is inevitable so they researched the market for a sustainable solution, there are plenty of options but turning the food waste into compost on-site was a ‘no brainer’. Several systems were appraised and the Ridan was chosen for its simplicity and the fact that it didn’t require any power source.
So now the hotel recycles food waste from all guests and staff  using a Ridan system to turn it into lovely rich compost which is then used on the gardens. food-waste-at-brocket

Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project schools get 10% discount!

We are very proud to be offering a 10% discount on all Large and Medium Ridan Composters to schools signed up to Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project.  Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project aims to empower primary school teachers to integrate growing and cooking into the school day.  They offer a range of ideas, resources and support to  help teachers equip students with the knowledge and confidence to cook and grow from scratch.  The heart of the project is all about food; where it comes from, how to cook it and how it affects your body.  Jamies Garden Kitchen Project is designed to inspire children’s eating habits for a lifetime!  The team at Jamies Kitchen Garden Project are passionate and keen.  They realise that teachers are stretched and no two schools are the same so their resources are designed to empower teachers to deliver fantastic lessons supporting the curriculum. 


Jamie's Kitchen Garden Project
Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project

We at Ridan  feel we sit perfectly alongside Jamies Kitchen Garden Project as composting can close that loop to demonstrate a sustainable solution to food waste.  If students can grow their own food and cook it then why not recycle any food waste to make compost to grow more?  So check out Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project for more information.

Groundwork, west midlands supply funding for city community garden to recycle food waste.

Groundwork UK, west midlands supply funding to recycle food waste. 

Most of our composters are delivered to businesses and organisations wishing to reduce food waste collection costs and make their business more sustainable.  

Ridan at Summerfield Greenhouse site
Ridan at Summerfield Greenhouse site

Every now and again we deliver a composter to a site run by passionate volunteers all working hard to enrich each other’s lives and just make the world a better place.  The Summerfield Greenhouse site was just that.  The site is located right next to Birmingham City Hospital.  It was cleared by volunteers from Lloyds bank as well as NHS trust workers from Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals.  With greenhouses, raised beds, bees, a cosy community centre and a whole host of willing volunteers the site was teaming with life.  Green fingered enthusiasts were keen to show off their little inner city sanctuary and demonstrate the fruits of their labour.

Groundwork UK provided funding for composting

Groundwork, west midlands have supplied the funding for two small composters.  They will be fed a mixed diet of garden waste and food waste left over by a local café which already sources ‘waste’ food donated from supermarkets!  The rich compost produced will be fed straight back into the greenhouses and beds on site and managed by volunteers.  The projects aim is to encourage healthy living and is part of a whole web of projects all over Birmingham. 

Volunteers showing off their produce.

The idea being that people are encouraged to walk between gardens, parks, allotments and open spaces as well as museums library’s and cafes.  There are a host of activities run in all the spaces all year round and anyone and everyone is encouraged to get involved.  A spot of gardening is literally what Doctors are prescribing these days!

Ridan orders a take out. The Vegware trials.

With less daylight hours and the temptation to stay wrapped up indoors, winter seemed the perfect time to conduct a Ridan Vegware compatibility test at the Grampus Inn!

The Grampus pub is a local gem nestled in the beautiful Lee Valley, North Devon.  Vegware sent a sample box; a broad range of their products to try in the Ridan.

vegware catering containers
Sample of Vegware products

So who are Vegware?  Founded in 2006 in Edinburg, Uk, they ‘pioneered the development and manufacture of eco friendly catering disposables and food packaging. Thier products are stylish, functional, economic and sustainable. The Vegware range of 250+ compostable products spans cutlery through to tableware, napkins, hot and cold drink cups, and takeaway packaging.’

The Grampus is a fantastic quirky pub, just back from Lee beach in Lee valley, North Devon. The proprietor, Bill Harvey, is well known locally for his fiddle playing (in the band M’Larkey) his onsite brewery and his three legged friend Lucy who inspired the brew ‘hoppydog’. The pubs is well respected for good food and great company.  Bill has worked hard to make The Grampus a more sustainable business with a woodchip boiler heating the building and water, much of his electricity is sourced from solar panels and now a Ridan Composter converts all his food waste into rich compost for his garden where he grows produce onsite for the kitchen. He has crafted his own range of beers, the waste materials of which are also fed through the Ridan.

The experiment:

Samples cut up into pieces

We split the collection into two samples and treated them in different ways.

The first sample we cut up into small pieces and fed into the Ridan.  Small pieces as we didn’t want it to interfere with the paddle system inside the Ridan.  What came out two weeks later was put straight into the maturation bins.

The second sample was layered into the maturation bins with compost fresh out of the Ridan.


Vegware containers being recycled in a Ridan composter
Looking into the Ridan from above the inlet.
Vegware containers being recycled in a maturation box
Vegware samples layered in the maturation bin.



composted Vegware take away box after 6-8 weeks

The results were interesting.  None of the products had a negative effect on the Ridan Process, both the Ridan and the maturation bins were hot with the Vegware products in them.  The two different methods did not seem to have a vastly different effect on the samples.  The factor which seemed to dictate how quickly the Vegware products broke down was the material they were made from: Paper, Card and Plam leaf materials broke down quickly and only mainly composted fragments remained at 6-8 weeks

The NatureFlex/PLA/CPLA based products didn’t break down as quickly.  Fragments were still clearly found at 12 weeks.  However at 16 weeks the maturation bin was emptied and spread out on the garden and no fragments were found at this stage.  It may be that fragments found at 12 weeks were at the top or on the side of the maturation bins where it is cooler.

In conclusion

It made no difference whether Vegware products were fed into the Ridan or layered in the maturation bins with compost.  So we recommend the layering in the maturation bins when using Vegware with the Ridan.

Paper, card and palm leaf products were fully composted at 12 weeks.

NatureFlex, PLA and CPLA products took longer but did eventually break down more like 16 weeks.

We do not recommend that Vegware should be used as an alternative carbon source, and it should be added in moderation.

EAGer to start school composting at Ellon Academy

Ellon Academy gets composting

School composting

Susan Swallow, head of the Ellon Acadamy Gardeners or EAGer bunch was excited to see us when we arrived at Ellon school with their brand new Ridan composter just after Easter.  We went up to deliver to the brand new £35 million pound purpose built Academy on Tuesday the 29th of March.  The plan is for all the organic waste from the kitchens to be turned into lovely rich compost for the gardens around the site.  The EAGer bunch are a group of students that meet every week.  Their aims are to ‘build a garden and grow lots of edible produce and encourage wildlife with flowers and habitat boxes’.

We wrapped up and braced ourselves against the Scottish climate and got the composter set up and ready for a presentation talk to school staff and members of Ellon Resource Centre.  Both the school and members of the Resource Centre will have a role in maintaining the gardens and most importantly the composter.  Students at the school will be responsible during term time with the daily operation of the Ridan.  Their tasks will include collection of the organic food waste from the kitchen and sawdust from the Design Technology department.  They will also have to load the composter, turn the handle each day as well as load the compost into the maturation bins.


Pupils from the enrichment program and some small curricular classes will be responsible for filling the RIDAN and turning the handle each day.  We are thrilled to have this ability to make our own compost on site.  The funding was awarded as part of an “Access to Education” grant for us to create a composting challenge.  The challenge will involve other types of composting – set up as an orienteering task around the new site so watch this space for more as we build the different composting stations!


Funding for the Ridan composter came from the Bags of Help grant from Tesco.

Tesco started the scheme with money generated by the 5p carrier bag charge.  The school won second place which gave them £10,000 towards setting up a composting challenge.  The challenge involves multiple different types of composting set up around the school grounds, each one a base on an orienteering task.  The Ridan is first base so far!  We look forward to hearing about all the others as they arrive on site.

As always it is a pleasure to meet enthusiastic people who are working hard to set valuable examples to the next generation.  Susan Swallow is one of the

Cullompton Community College start their onsite food waste recycling scheme with a Big Bang!

Cullompton Community College start their onsite food waste recycling scheme with a Big Bang!


One of our latest and more interesting deliveries was to a secondary school, Cullompton Community College. Many schools opt to recycle their food waste with a Ridan but what was interesting about this delivery was it was all instigated, researched and pioneered by the students.

cullompton community college students show off their new Ridan food waste composter.
cullompton community college students show off their Ridan food waste composter.

The students took part in an annual Go4Set competition which takes place over 10 weeks and sees a small team of 12-14 year olds tackle a project aimed at bringing education and industry together. The projects are often based around the school building or an aspect of the local community and designed to inspire students towards a STEM (Science, technology, engineering and Math) career. The Go4Set group from Cullompton took their ideas to the Big Bang Fair in Exeter, returning victorious they were determined to see their ideas implemented. Starting with their very own Ridan food waste composter!

With a Ridan the school will be able to recycle ALL their kitchen food waste into quality compost that will be spread on the school grounds.

This closed loop system is a fantastic demonstration of sustainability for all students, staff and parents.   ‘Cullompton Community College, located in East Devon, is a caring, friendly and high achieving community of learners of  529 students aged 11-16.’ The students who started the project are currently working with the present year 7s to develop a Green team to take the project forward and oversee the management of the Ridan composter.  Projects like the Go4Set project are fantastic opportunities for students; but to see a school actually take the next step and implement the students’ findings is great.  It illustrates to the great minds of tomorrow that with hard work and researched evidence they can influence and improve the world around them.

Roadchef joins the recycling revolution !


Roadchef joins the recycling revolution !

road-chefRoadchef Service station on the M6 toll road at Norton Canes have started to recycle much more waste from the site.  Most waste streams are being dispatched for off site treatment, but coffee grounds and food waste will be recycled on site with their new Ridan Composting system. The compost created will be used to enhance the service area gardens and grounds and make the service station more green.  By recycling on-site Roadchef will greatly reduce their carbon footprint as food waste will no longer need to be carried away from the service station.  Coffee grounds are a perfect example of a waste that could be a rich resource.  Rather than sending them to landfill where they will decompose anaerobically producing harmful greenhouse gases, Roadchef have chosen to harness this resource and make lovely compost.  The whole process is now aerobic and happens on site, taking only a couple of months!

‘Our 30 locations are visited by 44 million customers every year. We serve around one million breakfasts, 500,000 portions of fish and chips and more than five million coffees every year. The very nature of our business means that we are responsible for disposing of a lot of waste.’

Hopefully we will see more of the same at motorway service stations in future.  Check out their coffee grounds waste management strategy plan:

Coffee Grounds…

1. You order and enjoy your coffee

2. The coffee grounds are collected and separated

3. Coffee grounds are then put into a into a composter, where they are mixed with wood pellets and air

4. This mixture heats up naturally, very quickly turning the coffee grounds into a rich fertile compost

5. After just 12 weeks the compost can be used to enrich soil and grow flowers, food or even more coffee!

This is a trial project, hopefully we will see more of the same at motorway service stations in future.

Motorway service station recycling
Motorway service station recycling