Organic Food Waste – how to be more sustainable with our waste

If the Local Press family can sustainably dispose of food waste, so can you!

Picture your own fridge. On Sunday, you’ve filled it up to the brim with groceries for the week to come. By Saturday, you’ve got leftover Bolognese you’ve already eaten three times this week and taco filling that is starting to smell a little funky. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a dog to gobble it all up. But if you don’t, then what? Statistically, most of us are chucking the food we won’t be eating into the bin.

End of story? Not quite.

In landfill, food waste decomposes in an environment of minimal oxygen. This means that it decomposes anaerobically and emits a noxious gas called methane. This greenhouse gas is 25x more powerful than carbon dioxide. Greenhouse gasses are causing the Earth’s climate to change.

Do not despair.

Your leftovers and food scraps can be transformed into a magical blend of healthy nutrients and minerals if sent off to a worm farm. Worms transform scraps into a natural fertilizer which promotes healthy plant growth when added to garden beds.

Black solider fly larvae (maggots, essentially) can feed on your discarded food waste, giving it a more environmentally friendly ending compared to landfill. (Check out FeedforThought and GoTerra, both Canberra-based).

Scraps can also feed friends – chooks. By connecting with fellow Canberrans through an app called ShareWaste, we found chook-owners itching to get their hands on cauli leaves, veggie peels, eggshells and most food waste. You can do the same. One unexpected perk was meeting good-intentioned individuals and the occasional fresh eggs, garden fejioas, herbs and even Jerusalem artichokes and homemade jam we got in return for our scraps! Now they – and we – are better off!

One of our collectors even provides us with Bokashi, a mix of sawdust and beneficial microbes of the Lactobacillus species that speed up the decomposition of meat, fish and vegetables. Bokashi can be found in solid or liquid form at most hardware and gardening stores, and help you prevent bad odours while you figure out what to do with your scraps.

Our neighbourhood ‘Nonna’ (Italian grandma) collects our spent coffee grounds to increase the nitrogen in her soil (which promotes healthy plant growth). She often drops off scrumptious baked treats upon visiting – they remind me of my own Nonna’s irresistible home baking.

Responsibly disposing of waste, such as food scraps and leftovers, is a great way to get to know your neighbours, build community and feel good about your actions. It’s good for all parties and for the planet.

We want to know what solutions you are turning towards in an effort to fight waste. What do you do with your food waste?


Written by Olivia St-Laurent of Local Press Wholefoods.





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