Composting is one additional way that we can prevent food waste. When food is thrown away and breaks down in the landfill, it produces methane which is a greenhouse gas 26-28 times more potent than CO2. Composting prevents the release of methane gas by keeping food out of the landfill. The composting process allows food to break down in a way that stores carbon in the soil that is produced. When the compost is ready, it can be used to enrich plants in your own garden, reducing the need for fertilizers or pesticides. Even if you don’t garden, there are often people in your community who would love to use the compost you generate.
How do I get started?
While composting might feel intimidating, you already have most of the supplies you need at home.
Basic supplies for composting:
- A plastic or metal container that you can add holes to
- Green (food scraps) and brown materials (dead leaves, paper, saw dust)
What do I put in the compost bin?
When composting, you need to combine layers of green (carbon rich) and brown (nitrogen rich) materials so that your compost is balanced and doesn’t get smelly. Almost all organic matter can be included. This infographic categorizes items into green and brown materials. If you already compost, check out this list of 100 things to compost for ideas of items you may want to add to your compost.
Things to avoid include: meat, bones, fish and seafood, dairy, and stickers/rubber bands from produce.
For more specific tips on how to start a compost, read the article “How to Compost at Home: A Beginners Guide to DIY Fertilizer,” or check out this simplified infographic for composting basics.
Once you understand the basics, decide if you would like to compost indoors or outdoors.
What if I am unable to compost?
If you are unable to compost where you live, some communities offer food scrap pick-up services for a fee. Check to see if compost pickup services exist in your area.