Author: Andrea Harold
Date: 15 May 2019

Have you ever thought that it’s ok to put food scraps in the bin? You might say to yourself, “It’s ok, it will decompose in landfill so no problem putting it there!” Well, I’ve done a bit of research and the impact on doing this is quite significant to our environment. 3% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from organic matter rotting anaerobically (without air) in landfill. To put this in context, it is about as much as the country’s aviation industry alone. Transporting the waste to landfill also has a huge impact on our environment with big trucks ejecting pollution and adding to its carbon footprint. Also, think about what the waste is mixing with in the truck or rubbish bags, rotting material along with chemicals and metals and electronics to create a sludge that eventually makes its way into our water supply. YUK!

So what can we do to help alleviate this huge problem? By composting all your food waste you can minimise the impact on landfill. You can also try to minimise the actual waste you produce in the first place. The Love Food Hate Waste website is great and full of information on reducing your waste. This has great tips on reducing food waste that are easy to do and will also save you money.

I compost all my food scraps that don’t either go to the chickens or goats – both make great garbage disposal units! I found the easiest way to do this was to permanently have a compost bin on my kitchen bench purchased from Bunnings, along with compostable plastic bags to make the clean-up easier. I just fill it up and once full put the whole bag in my compost heap. If you don’t have a compost heap or space for one, there are other means like a compost tumbler or similar or a worm farm which will also give you beautiful worm juice to feed your own vegetable patch with. Now my whole family has gotten into the habit of putting the food scraps in the compost bin. It’s also an easy clean up as the bin is right there on the bench. Andia Cally, of the Compost Revolution (2019) says, “Bokashi bins are also great, harnessing the power of fermentation. Bokashi is like compost on steroids. Bokashi uses an anaerobic process (created by a lack of oxygen) to ferment your food scraps, helping them to break down several times faster than unprocessed food.”

I have also found by doing this the impact we have had as a family is visibly reduced, as now our landfill bin only has one bag of rubbish a week and we are hoping to reduce this even further by purchasing food without wrapping or growing our own. We also swap veggies and fruits with our neighbours reducing our need to buy from the shops.

Many councils and community gardens run composting and worm farming workshops to help you get started. While many councils in Australia provide a kerbside collection service for garden cuttings, few currently offer food scrap collections. So get onto your council website to find out what they may have on offer.

Get the children involved! They will love exploring what food scraps can be composted and what can go in the worm farm. They will also learn valuable lessons on reducing waste, measuring how much waste you produce each day and coming up with ways of doing this along with their educator to make a difference to our world. It will also open up more questions on other types of recycling to help reduce our impact on the environment.

It’s the little details that are vital. Enjoy the satisfaction of doing little things well to make big improvements to our environment and make the world a safer place for our future generation.