Composting Food Scraps: How it helps the environment
Although the United states is a great leader in several areas, the US is a global leader when in comes to food waste. According to Recycle Track System, Americans discard nearly 40 million tons of food every year, approximately 219 pounds of food waste per person which equates to $1,600 per family of 4. When this food waste is discarded in the garbage, it ends up in a landfill adding to already growing size of landfills. Instead, this wasted food could have been used for farming and cultivation. The garbage pile starts to disintegrate anaerobically without Oxygen, and releases harmful methane gas a.k.a green house gas which traps suns heat and warm up our planet causing global warming. Methane gas is approximately 84 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2. However, composting involves aerobic metabolism of discarded food products, thereby limiting methane gas production.
We waste food every single day, but during the holidays we tend to waste even more. With holidays around the corner, we decided to write a blog: what to do with the food waste that gets generated during the holidays?
- Donate: 1 in 7 families in the U.S struggles with hunger
- Freeze the left overs in a reusable container and consume at a later date
What is Compost:
Compost is a pile of green organic matter such as veggies and garden waste that is high in Nitrogen. This should be mixed with brown organic matters that are high in carbon such as fruits, leaves or cardboard. Over time these break down naturally with the help of microorganisms such as fungus & bacteria. These breakdown products then become food for earthworms, which further process decaying matter into soil.
The carbon to nitrogen ratio must be balanced to facilitate composting. If you just pile veggies and fruits, it is not going to compost itself, you need right ratio of carbon to nitrogen along with water and moisture to kick start the composting process.
Have you noticed while strolling in the forest you see trees, leaves, plants falls on the forest floor. These are called organic materials, which slowly break down, creating nutrient rich soil for flowers and plants to bloom. If organic materials did not break down naturally, there would be mountains of dead plants, trees, and fruits covering the surface of earth. Taking the same principles from mother nature, we can implement similar concept to compost your kitchen scraps to close the loop on the food system and build a healthy harmonious and sustainable system for us to thrive.
Benefits of Composting:
- Create organic fertilizer
- Generate valuable bio gas which will help phase out fossil fuel
- Compress bio gas to create CNG which is a natural gas
- Water conservation
- Improve top soil that is been degraded with excessive use of synthetic fertilizers
- Improves water retention and infiltration
- Sustainable economic engine creating jobs
- Cardboard minus the plastic stickers
- Dry Pet Hair
- Human hair and Nail Clippings
- Coffee Ground
- Tea bag minus the bag
- Egg shells
- Expired Spice's
- Beer and Wine
- Used Paper Towels
- Used Tissue Papers
- Toilet Paper Rolls
- Dog and Cat Waste
- Dairy Products
- Paper Plates
- Milk Cartons
- Metal Containers
How can you get started?
If you are in an urban setting: Buy a stainless steel compost bin that has a carbon filter, and collect your compost and drop off at your community compost locations, and let the experts handle the composting process. Every major city has a compost drop off location, find one near you. For New York City residence, click here to find the drop off location near you.
Or if you prefer someone to come pick up your compost? For a small fee Ground Cycle, will come pick up your compost and offer you to purchase some local farm fresh produce and get it delivered to your door in your fresh bin.
Thank You for composting!