Waste Less: Food

The past few months I have made it my mission to find ways to be more resourceful and less wasteful. As a society, myself included, we waste SO MUCH. Food, wrappers, cups, packaging, etc. While we wait to dive into our next house project, I am starting a blog series that looks at different ways to ‘waste less’. This first post is all about how to waste less food. Take a look at some of these statistics regarding food waste:

> 40% of food in the US goes uneaten.

> $218 billion worth of food is thrown away every year.

> 21% of the fresh water supply is used to produce wasted food.

> 20 billion pounds of fresh produce go unharvested or unsold each year.

I have a hard time throwing things away, in general, but I have an even harder time throwing away food, even if it has gone bad. I stumbled across this quote recently and it stuck with me. Some people wait to until they can do something perfectly to start, when in reality, it’s better to start and be imperfect than to not start at all.

One way I have found to be more resourceful when it comes to food is by ordering groceries through Imperfect Foods. Imperfect Foods is a grocery delivery service that sells the food that grocery stores would have thrown away but are still completely edible. There are different reasons foods make it to Imperfect Foods – blemishes, oddly shaped, surplus, discontinued, etc. Because of these reasons, the food is usually discounted.

On your account, they also let you know how much you’ve saved with each box, which is fun to keep track of. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s nice to see that what you’re doing is making a positive impact. If you want to check it out for yourself and save $10 on your first box, click here!

Another way to waste less food is by composting. This is new to me but definitely something I’ve been wanting to start for a while now. Again, I HATE throwing away food so this was an easy solution to that problem.

Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can. This is important because when organic matter hits the landfill, it lacks the air it needs to decompose quickly. Instead, it creates harmful methane gas as it breaks down, increasing the rate of global warming and climate change.

It can also improve soil health. The crumbly texture of compost can improve airflow moisture retention in soils with high clay content and the available nutrients improve soil health and subsequently plant health.

good for the environment. Compost offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.

It reduces landfill waste.
Most landfills in North America are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials.

I found this affordable composter on Amazon that can be easily tumbled to mix instead of having to mix it up yourself with a shovel. It was also very easy to put together. I’m not one for reading instructions and I was able to put this together in under 30 minutes. This composter also comes with instructions on how to get started.

I snagged an Organic Compost Starter because it was recommended online with this composter (advertising at its finest) but I figured it wouldn’t hurt. It isn’t necessary but might help speed up the process, especially if you’re starting from scratch.

Composting requires three basic ingredients:

  • Browns: This includes materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs.
  • Greens: This includes materials such as grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds.
  • Water: Having the right amount of water, greens, and browns is important for compost development. Moisten dry materials as they are added. Mixture should feel like a damp sponge.

I’ve read mixed opinions but I’d keep it 1:1 or 1:2 ratio of greens to browns. Adjust as needed.

So what can you compost?

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Eggshells
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Tea bags
  • Nut shells
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Cardboard
  • Paper
  • Yard trimmings
  • Grass clippings
  • Houseplants
  • Hay and straw
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust
  • Wood chips
  • Cotton and Wool Rags
  • Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint
  • Hair and fur

What shouldn’t you compost?

  • Black walnut tree leaves or twigs
    – Releases substances that might be harmful to plants
  • Coal or charcoal ash
    – Might contain substances harmful to plants
  • Dairy products (e.g., butter, milk, sour cream, yogurt) and eggs*
    – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Diseased or insect-ridden plants
    – Diseases or insects might survive and be transferred back to other plants
  • Fats, grease, lard, or oils*
    – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Meat or fish bones and scraps*
    – Create odor problems and attract pests such as rodents and flies
  • Pet wastes (e.g., dog or cat feces, soiled cat litter)*
    – Might contain parasites, bacteria, germs, pathogens, and viruses harmful to humans
  • Yard trimmings treated with chemical pesticides
    – Might kill beneficial composting organisms

    *Check with your local composting or recycling coordinator to see if these organics are accepted by your community curbside or drop-off composting program.

This is definitely a work in progress and it won’t be perfect, but little by little, I’m learning ways to be more resourceful and less wasteful. Save the planet, yo. ✌️