Can You Compost Old Preserves?

There are many things that can go in your compost bin. It’s not just for leftovers and other organic waste that can’t be thrown away any other way. Even if something doesn’t seem like it would break down easily, if it was alive at one point and is made of plant materials, you can probably compost it.

Although, there are some things that will keep your compost from working well. If you want to get the most out of your compost, you should avoid putting certain things in it.

If you’ve found yourself wondering “are old preserves compostable?”, “how do I do it?” and “how long will they take to compost?”: you’ve come to the right place.

Can you put old preserves in the compost?

Yes, old preserves like chutneys and jams are compostable. Adding old preserves to your compost pile will contribute to creating a nutrient-rich fertiliser that you can use in your garden.

Can you put them in the waste bin?

If you don’t have a compost bin, you can put condiments in the appropriate roadside collection bin but biodegradable materials like old preserves are better off being in a compost pile.

Disposing of organic or compostable waste like condiments in landfill can contribute to the release of potent greenhouse gases like methane, which has around 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide.

Methane emissions are significantly reduced by composting suitable food waste and organic materials.

How to compost old preserves

You should dilute the spread in some water to ensure that the sugar is well spread out amongst the pile.

As a green material, you should be adding old preserves and other green nitrogen-rich materials then a layer of brown to cover it. Remember to use a garden fork or a stick to poke holes in your compost every couple of weeks to mix the pile up.

How long will old preserves take to compost?

It takes around 4-6 weeks for old preserves to completely decompose in a compost. Because they decompose relatively quickly, you could add them regularly.

Old preserves discarded on the ground or buried in the ground will take longer to decompose.

Are old preserves a green or brown material?

Old preserves should be considered a green material when composting.

Materials that are green, like old preserves, are often more wet and softer recently-living organic material; and are a source of nitrogen (one of the four essential ingredients) for your compost. Green nitrogen-rich materials provide a lot of the vital nutrients that microbes need to speed up the process of decomposition. Ideally your compost mix should consist of about 1 part of green material for every 4 parts of brown material.

Composts rely on green materials like old preserves to add the neccessary proteins and other nourishment for the microbes to thrive to the pile.

Will composting them attract pests?

Yes. Old preserves will attract pests. To avoid attracting rodents you should only add small amounts and ensure it is well buried to ensure it breaks down quickly.

Composting considerations

When composting old preserves, you should add some dry materials such as cardboard or newspaper along with your diluted jam to soak up some of the excess moisture.

Omar Agor-Wood
Omar Agor-Wood

Omar is a digital marketer by day for one of the UK's largest environmental consultancy companies, and is writing like the world depends on it for Pick Ethical at night. He has a passion for hiking, bouldering, and making a fuss of his dog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *