Eating seasonally during the Spring months can be a delightful experience, as it offers a wide array of fresh and vibrant produce. In-season fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, asparagus, peas, artichokes, and radishes, are not only delicious but are also packed with nutrients that are beneficial for our health. Eating seasonal produce not only supports local farmers and reduces the carbon footprint associated with food transportation but also offers an opportunity to connect with the changing seasons and the natural rhythms of the earth.
And after sampling what Spring has to offer, most would chuck the food scraps in the garbage...But what happens to them next? I think most would assume that their food garbage just decomposes in the landfill like last week's takeout in the back of the fridge. Not so, my friends. Landfills are huge garbage cans designed to hold stuff. They are tightly packed and anaerobic and proper decomposition requires insects and bacteria and oxygen to occur. So even with efforts to eat for the season and help mama earth, those scraps are going to sit in there indefinitely. Yep, indefinitely. Like a really, really long time. Years. Giving off methane. The most dangerous greenhouse gas. Food waste drives global warming.
Let’s get some perspective. As usual, the U.S. is number one in throwing away food - some 40 million tons annually. In fact, wasted food takes up most of the space in our landfills and 22% of our garbage is methane producing. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming. Because of course, the U.S. is number one for causing climate change in general. So guess what my eco-friendly peeps? We drive climate change as much as corporations do...with our kitchen scraps.
If you care enough about Mother Earth to stop buying plastic, then care enough to stop the kitchen scrap madness. The first step is to stop buying food you won’t eat. We all succumb to the idea that this is the day we’re going to start eating healthier, only to toss all that wilted kale and moldy spinach out two weeks later. Just stop. If you’re not going to actually eat it, don’t buy it. Second, use the food you buy. All of it. While researching for this post, I learned that the white sort of tasteless part of the melon is nutrient dense (!) and can be turned into pickles, chutney, or used in stir fry. All the skins and trimmings of veggies can be used in vegetable stock. Use everything you can. You will save $$$. Win-win.
Storing food appropriately will also help to prevent unnecessary food waste. Did you know carrots and lemons do best in jars of water? Avoid washing berries until you're ready to eat them, and you'll find they stay fresh longer. Furthermore, our food wax wraps allow food to breathe and prolongs the life of lettuce, spinach, cheeses, etc. while reducing the need for plastic cling wrap. Another win-win.
Finally, wasted food should become compost. Some are even blessed with a municipality that has curbside “yard waste.” Just keep a lidded can under the sink and everything compostable goes in; cooked food scraps, coffee ground filters, used paper towels, onion peels, watermelon rinds etc. That bin along with lawn clippings and raked leaves gets picked up weekly, and is mechanically composted so the compostable food waste bags, cat hair, soiled pizza boxes, as well as used bamboo toothbrush heads and tired loofah sponges can all turn into soil eventually.
If you’re not as fortunate to have that available from the city, home composting is a thing. If you live in a moderate climate and have a yard, the possibilities are endless. Do some research because there are about a billion ways to DIY; from rolling bins to a pile you manually manage, with worms, with roaches (turns out they’re really good at breaking down things and they have some that can’t climb so they’re contained.) Read our blog Composting 101 for tips on how to get started. However you find that works for you, it’s not smelly or all that hard and you get wonderfully nutrient rich soil to add to your garden and houseplants!
If you live in an apartment or in a more hostile (dry,hot) climate, see if you can find a service. If you are local to Las Vegas, you can utilize Viva la Compost. Put the waste in their provided bucket, and have it picked up biweekly. Voila.
Climate change is real. We contribute to it daily with our lazy habits. Baby steps lead to lasting change, so make a commitment to cut down on your output of food waste. Mother Earth will thank you!