Dec 152011

With thanks to Aberdeen Forward and Zero Waste Scotland.

Volunteers working with environmental charity Aberdeen Forward and Zero Waste Scotland are calling on locals to make sure they are not throwing good food in the bin this Christmas.  The average household could save as much as £430 a year by stamping out food waste, and at least £18 million of edible food is thrown in the bin in Scotland every year.

Zero Waste Volunteers in the North East are now encouraging local residents to find out more about how to reduce food waste.  For more tips to reduce food waste and save money, visit

Gillian Marr, Zero Waste Scotland’s Volunteer Coordinator for Grampian, said:

“There are a number of simple steps which everyone can take to stop food going to waste. 

“Begin by thinking about the meals you’d like to eat over Christmas, planning the ingredients you will need and writing a shopping list.  By planning meals, you can build in ideas for making tasty meals from any leftovers you might have. 

“Remember to make the most of your freezer and pay attention to the use by dates on the things you buy.  Many items, such as hard cheese and mashed potatoes, can be frozen and reused at a later date which saves on time and stops you throwing food you’ve spent good money on in the bin.  Storing your food to keep it at its best can prevent things from spoiling. 

“Thinking about how many guests you will have could also prevent you buying or cooking too much.  A perfect portion planner is available from  which advises on how much you need to make healthy-sized meals and snacks for both adults and children.

“Finally, for all the vegetable peelings and fruit trimmings you can’t avoid put these to good use, remember to use your compost bin to make a rich fertiliser you can use in the garden.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s Christmas Food Saver Tips

To help local families make the most of the food they buy over Christmas, Zero Waste Scotland’s Love Food Hate Waste Team shares some tips about how to turn your Christmas Dinner into a waste-less treat:

  • Write a list before you do that big Christmas shop to prevent over-buying in the supermarkets
  • Use the perfect portion planner at to plan how much you need to feed your guests
  • Freeze the carcass of your turkey to make a tasty stock for soup later
  • Don’t bin the leftovers of your turkey, they will be tasty on a sandwich on Boxing Day or make them into another delicious meal, like turkey curry.  You could even freeze leftover meat for later too.
  • Store those Christmas vegetables in the fridge to make sure they stay fresh long after Christmas day.  If you don’t get round to eating them in time, boil them up and freeze them in individual portions to enjoy your own home-made ready meals in January
  • If you’ve got leftovers from dessert, whipped cream can be frozen too or turn your Christmas pudding into a strudel or use leftover fruit and dessert sauces to make brownies
  • Even leftover party food can be frozen and enjoyed in packed lunches when the festive season ends.

For further information about Zero Waste Scotland contact:

Nicola McGovern, Press & PR Manager
Tel: 01786 468890
Mob: 07540 516156

Image credit © Marilyn Barbone | ….. 78

Nov 172011

When the clocks go back, this doesn’t mean that gardening duties stop, unfortunately. Bucksburn in Bloom’s President Drew Levy offers some timely tips for November as winter approaches.

Leaves seem to get everywhere and cover everything including your lawn, flower beds and paths, but once collected, they make excellent leaf mould.
Your lawn might be covered in leaves and raking can be a chore – so take out your mower, attach its collecting box, select a high lift setting so as not to cut the grass and use it as a vacuum cleaner.
Not only does this make it easier to collect the leaves, but it also helps chop them up, aiding the rotting process.

They can go on your compost heap or into your compost bin, but remember to cover them with an old piece of carpet or close the compost bin lid, as they’ll all blow out again if you don’t.

If you don’t have a compost bin, but have a spare area at the side or back of your shed, you can collect them as before and put them in black bin liners or empty compost bags, adding just a little water to moisten them. Tie the top of the bag and put some small holes in the polythene with your finger to allow air in to help the rotting process.

The leaves will, over winter, turn into leaf mould, which you can put into your flower beds. If you have Acers in your garden, their leaves take a little longer to rot down due to their structure, but they will still turn into the leaf mould that you are looking for.

Worried about your garden pond freezing during the winter? Just drop a couple of tennis balls into the water and this will keep the iced water moving and help prevent the cracking of the pond liner or sides. If you have fish in your pond, take out the tennis balls during the day so that there is a hole to allow the fish to breathe and a place where you can put in their food.

If you haven’t put your spring bulbs in yet, there is still time to plant them before the end of November.

Plant pots which stay outdoors all winter can be helped from freezing to the floor and cracking by cutting small squares of wood to place under them to raise them up off the frozen ground.

May 122011

With Thanks To Aberdeen Forward.

As Spring arrives, Zero Waste Scotland share their top five tips to a blooming wonderful garden and a flourishing compost bin.

Gillian Marr at environmental charity, Aberdeen Forward says:

“The start of the growing season is a great time to get out in the garden and also give your compost bin some attention. It’s time to clear out your winter garden debris and fill your garden with bright flowers.
“Composting is a great way to turn all those garden clippings and trimmings into a useful soil conditioner for your garden.  If you don’t already compost at home, spring is a great time of year to start.”

Zero Waste Scotland’s top five tips to a blooming wonderful garden this Spring:

  1. Rake your lawn to get rid of old growth, twigs and stray leaves and put it in your compost bin.  This lets the light and air into the soil level encouraging grass to grow.  Your grass will be looking lush in time for your first summer BBQ!
  2. Cut back last season’s plants and add the trimmings to your compost bin.
  3. Give your soil a boost by adding nutrient rich homemade compost in preparation for Spring planting.
  4. Moisturise with mulch! When planting new shrubs and fruit trees, mulch heavily around the base with compost. The mulch will prevent moisture loss which means you’ll do less watering.
  5. After your Spring clean, add the vacuumed dirt and dust to your compost bin.

For information and advice on home composting and seasonal tips for composting in Spring, visit:

Zero Waste Scotland is the new unified body created to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste policy goals. It integrates the work of WRAP Scotland, Waste Aware Scotland, Envirowise, NISP and the Community Recycling Network for Scotland.

More information on Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes is available from:

Jan 072011

Aberdeen Forward…. Aberdeen Forward…. Aberdeen Forward…. Aberdeen Forward….

Ever wanted to grow your own vegetables? Local environmental charity, Aberdeen Forward, is launching a new course aimed at helping the would-be gardener to learn about growing vegetables in  a garden or allotment environment.

Participants on the course will get their own small allotment plot to practice their growing skills and take home the fruits of their labours.

They will be able to visit their plots throughout the season and tend to their plants whilst also benefiting from 17 support sessions across the season from February to December.

A spokesperson for Aberdeen Forward said:

“Many of us are getting more conscious of how important it is to eat fresh vegetables and the benefits of obtaining them locally, rather than eating produce with many fuel miles attached.  There is no better approach than growing them yourself, either in a vegetable plot at home or via an allotment garden.  This course will hopefully give new gardeners the experience and confidence to grow their own.”

The course is based near Peterculter, and commences on the 19th of February 2011.

Anyone interested in finding out more about the course can contact Aberdeen Forward on 01224 560360 /

Dec 102010

Aberdeen Forward…. Aberdeen Forward…. Aberdeen Forward…. Aberdeen Forward….

At this time of the year when the weather turns colder, especially with all the sub-zero snowy weather we have been having, the compost process slows down and we tend to neglect our compost bins.  Many items we throw away such as organic materials form methane, which is a powerful climate change gas. So anything we can do to reduce this waste reduces our carbon footprint.

There are lots of small steps that you can take to keep the composting process going over the winter. Keep feeding your bin, even if it is covered in snow; using a kitchen caddy will cut down your trips outside to the compost bin, and having the compost bin accessible near the house or back door will ensure you keep using it over the winter months.

Chris Hunt, a project coordinator with Aberdeen Forward says “For the inevitable chilly winter weather, ensure you keep the lid on your compost bin, this helps keep the snow out and the warmth in – just like us the mini beasts inside like to be warm! Giving your compost a ‘turn’ regularly will give it some air, which helps the rotting process and for really cold weather covering the compost bin in old carpet or other thermal materials can help the decomposing over the winter months.”

Says Chris Hunt “Don’t forget to compost over the Christmas season too; keep putting potato, carrot and sprout peelings in your compost bin over the festive period, along with orange and Satsuma skins.  Even used wrapping paper, needles that have dropped from your Christmas tree, paper napkins and torn up cardboard inner tubes from crackers can be composted.  There is so much extra organic waste generated at Christmas which can be put to good use in the compost bin.

Since 2004 the Scottish Government has been running a subsidised compost bin scheme via Zero Waste Scotland and recently celebrated achieving 250,000 compost bins distributed in Scotland since the campaign started.  The programme, which has been a great success, offers compost bins from as little as £8 delivered free to your door along with a free kitchen caddy and handy hints leaflet.  To focus on other initiatives the subsidised scheme will come to an end on 31 March 2011. If you have been thinking of purchasing a bin, but haven’t got around to it, time is running out as bin sales can only be guaranteed while stocks lasts, with some stocks already sold out or running low.

To order your reduced price compost bin please visit for more information.