Today, instead of talking about eating the food, let’s talk about what happens after you eat the food. No, not that kind of afterward – there will be no toilet discussions here, at least for now. We’re talking about what you do with your food waste. Why are you still throwing it in the garbage? That is so late 20th century.
In fact, prior to World War II, people largely took care of their own trash, and composting was a regular part of life. Once someone started taking our trash away for us, we got lazier and just started throwing everything in the can. But here’s the problem: When all that organic waste gets tossed into our landfills, it decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen) and generates methane, a greenhouse gas that is damaging to the ozone layer. By composting, we are using nature’s own way of returning the organic material to the soil. Ultimately, it’s better for the soil and for our environment (plus we save on all of the fuel and transport costs of dragging that food waste from here to the landfill). And of course there’s the added benefit of teaching your kids to think about where their waste goes, and showing them how to be good stewards of the environment.
In reality, composting is pretty easy. All you have to do is save your fruit and vegetable scraps (and we know you have plenty), toss them in a kitchen container, and then dump them in your compost pile when the container is full. (Make sure you add plenty of “brown” material – i.e. dried leaves – to the compost mix as well.) Stir it around every so often, and within a few months you’ll have the best fertilizer nature ever invented.
So why don’t people do more composting? It takes too much work? Get the kids involved and make it fun for them to do the dumping and the stirring. Don’t have a place to put the compost pile? Do indoor composting or compost with worms. Grossed out about the idea of keeping food scraps? Get a snazzy stainless steel kitchen compost pail with a carbon filter to neutralize odors. See? There’s really no excuse you can give for not doing it.
Many municipalities are switching (or have already switched) to a system that charges you for how much trash you generate. There’s one final good reason to start reducing your trash stream now. So just do it – for the environment, for your wallet, and of course, for your kids.