Household waste recycling isn’t as hard as you think.
In Australia, on average a family will throw away 20% of the food that it purchases. This means if you come home with 5 bags of shopping, you may as well toss one straight into the garbage. In terms of dollars, this equates to over $1000 discarded every year. Sound scary?
The environmental impact of this food wastage is even more worrying. When food is put into a landfill with other organics and left to rot it produces a gas called methane. The food we are discarding is producing a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than the exhaust fumes from our cars. source.
So, what can we do about it?
Well, the first thing would be to shop carefully. Take a list when you’re shopping and meal plan so that you know what you will buy will be eaten. Make sure you check your pantry and fridge before you head to the shops – then you won’t get end up with too much of something because you forgot you had it.
Don’t be scared to try new things. Take a look at what is in your fridge and plan your meal around it. Using up leftovers is a great way to reduce food waste. If you cook too much, pop it in a reusable container, and eat it for lunch the next day. This will not only reduce landfill, but it will also save you money. We’ll always be left with some food wastage – even if it is just peelings from our vegetables and fruit.
Compost your leftovers
Composting is a fantastic way to reduce or eliminate the production of methane from your food scraps. Not only does it benefit the environment it also provides you with nutrient-rich soil that you can dig into your garden beds.
You may be surprised to know that there are several different ways to compost – we will look at these in a moment – and using these methods you can even compost meat, dairy, egg, cooked food, and bread. Just ensure you are using the right method.
Outdoor composting is also a great option. You can do this in an open system, a closed system or what’s known as a hot composting system. Worms and microorganisms will make their way into your compost and help to speed up the process. This is a great way of composting not only your fruit and vegetable scraps but also leaf litter and grass cuttings from your garden. You will need to turn and aerate your compost regularly. Then you will soon start to see nutrient-rich compost that can be dug straight into your garden.
Worm Farms are a fun and practical way to compost your food scraps. The farms usually come with 3 separate layers. The worms live in the top 2 layers, they eat the scraps you put in and produce worm ‘castings’. These castings can be dug straight into your garden and are full of goodness for your soil. At the bottom of the worm farm is where the worm wee collects. This should be mixed with water and used as a fantastic fertiliser for your plants.
Indoor bokashi fermentation system
If you want to compost meat scraps, bread, and dairy you can use an indoor Bokashi composting system. This is a great option for sitting alongside your worm farm or hot composting bin. Bokashi can also be used for anything that worms don’t eat such as citrus and onions.
The Bokashi bin will sit under your kitchen sink and is a fast method of composting. It works through fermentation by activating microbes. These are naturally occurring and so will have a beneficial impact on the environment. The food waste that you produce is then dug into your garden and within a few weeks, this will turn into beautiful compost.
We have control of our impact on our environment. Every small step towards reducing our carbon footprint makes a difference.