Today we’re going to approach one of our biggest concerns, food waste and its impact on the environment, from a slightly different tack. We are big proponents of the “Farm to Fork” movement currently emerging in the food community, and we are also getting more interested in composting, or “Spoon to Soil” as we like to refer to it. Composting is just another form of recycling, this time with organic material instead of aluminum or plastic, and farmers have been doing it for ages. In recent years, composting has started to catch on in urban areas, with the desire of various municipalities to save money and be proactive towards the environment. Nowadays, virtually anyone can apply composting to their household routine, whether you garden at home or not.
Why should you think about composting? Well, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recycling and composting kept 86.9 million tons of material from being disposed in 2011. That ends up being the equivalent of 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide gas that did not get released into the air. Think about it this way: that’s like removing 34 million cars from the roads in the US. Still, even though the United States recycles and/or composts about 34% of all municipal solid waste, the average American still throws out about 1,200 pounds of waste every year which could be composted. We really talked about the benefits of growing your own organic food at home, and if you’re thinking about home gardening for food but you haven’t started a home garden yet, you should know that composting enriches soil, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, and produces a nutrient-rich material called humus.
Composting at home involves two choices, whether you want to do it in your backyard or indoors. If you’re going to compost outdoors, make sure you have the right tools for the job, including a pitchfork, a square shovel or machete, and a hose with a spray head. Place or construct your composting bin in the shade where the area is typically dry. As you add your food waste you need to keep it moist and keep it stirred, either with tools or a bin that automatically rotates to mix. One option is to cover the top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. Don’t put anything too big in there, make sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded. Once your compost pile is up and running, start mixing grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This can take anywhere from two months to two years.
Say you don’t have the space outside, you can compost indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks. One great way to compost involves using the Red Wiggler worm to live in and process the waste. That’s called vermicomposting. Also, be aware of aspects of the larger environment where you live, like water. In Las Vegas, for example, the water is already very mineral-rich with calcium, so locals who compost do not advise composting eggshells.
At Berrybreeze™, we are committed to making food stay fresh and last longer so you spend less, waste less, and pollute less. Here just one more way to make food useful even after it is no longer viable for nutrition. Do you compost? How do you do it? Leave a comment in the section below!