Compost Collective Leeds - pilot success

FoodWise Leeds is celebrating the success of delivering a 1-year community composting pilot, in partnership with local grass-roots organisations and community groups. Compost Collective Leeds is now expanding across the city, with funding to establish six additional sites.

Compost. Credit: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn  | Pexels

Compost. Credit: Sippakorn Yamkasikorn | Pexels

The pilot

Since February 2022, FoodWise Leeds has partnered with grass-roots organisations and community groups to create Compost Collective Leeds and establish two community composting sites in Garforth and Seacroft. The ambitions for these sites were to enable community members to:

  • Reduce food waste by recycling food scraps
  • Create a free source of compost to grow food, flowers and other plants
  • Collectively #compostforclimate and reduce their carbon footprint
  • Support their local green and growing spaces

In just 3 months, over 1,805 litre caddies were emptied into community composting bins, transforming over 250 kilos of diverted food waste into a future free source of compost. This means approximately 950 kilos of CO2 emissions (GhGs)[1] have been saved; the equivalent weight of around four local alpacas at Leeds’ Meanwood Valley Urban Farm!

An alpaca from Meanwood Valley Urban Farm. Credit: Meanwood Valley Urban Farm
Credit: Meanwood Valley Urban Farm


Once the compost is ready, local members will be collecting their share and any remaining will be given to local green/growing spaces (e.g. Incredible Edible Garforth community food growing beds and Seacroft Forest Garden).

Local Councillor Katie Dye enthuses about her local site Compost Collective Seacroft: 

“The scheme has been really successful. From experienced composters to complete beginners, the pilot has engaged lots of different people who are now turning food waste into compost to grow more food.

"FoodWise Leeds were able to provide the guidance needed to set up and establish the site for long-term sustainability, with expertise and resources from bin design to delivering members training. Climate Action Seacroft has been a great support, co-facilitating training, looking after the compost bin and encouraging people along the way. Links have been made with community organisations such as the LS14 Trust who are offering a free tea or coffee with each caddy emptied and Chapel FM who are composting food waste from their cafe. 

"It would be fantastic to see community composting extended so that more people can benefit, and we can cut waste across the city.” 

.. Credit: FoodWise Leeds

Compost Collective Garforth partners: Incredible Edible Garforth and Eco-Friendly Garforth. Funded by Outer East Community Committee and Sustainable Food Places.

.. Credit: FoodWise Leeds

Compost Collective Seacroft partners: We Are Seacroft, Climate Action Seacroft and LS14 Trust. Funded by Inner East Community Committee and Sustainable Food Places.

Read more about the pilot sites here.


The Approach

FoodWise Leeds has shared an overview of their approach to setting up the pilot sites (below). Key to the continuing success of these sites is the co-production with local community. This has been achieved this through strong partnership working, community consultation and local skill sharing/development. One key outcome of this approach has been the positive impact on helping to reduce social isolation (i.e. community composting as a social activity), one member told FoodWise “I’m already a keen composter, I came to meet people”.

To achieve the ambitions for each site, FoodWise and partners worked through the following stages, developing supporting resources and tools. For example, Compost Collective Leeds Members Handbook (viewable here).

.. Credit: FoodWise Leeds


Growing the movement

With strong links to the Leeds Food Strategy, the vision for Compost Collective Leeds is to work in partnership with local communities to grow a network of community compost sites across Leeds. Taking action towards this and based on the success of the pilot, FoodWise has secured funding to develop an additional six sites with other Leeds-based communities.

Compost Collective Leeds sites provide communities with a tangible way to take action in caring for themselves, their communities and the planet.

Interested in setting up a site?

If you are a local organisation, community group or community member interested in setting up a local Compost Collective Leeds site, get in touch with FoodWise Leeds to discuss how they might support you and your community.




[1] Calculation based on insights within the UK Food System GHG Emissions report (WRAP) (i.e. approximately every kilo of food waste in the UK is associated with 3.8 kilos of CO2e (GhGs)).