Food wastage and Composting:
Most people don’t realize how much food they throw away every day — from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. About 94 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. In 2017, we disposed of 38.1 million tons of food waste. In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30–40 percent of the food supply. This figure, based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.
By managing food sustainably and reducing waste, we can help businesses and consumers save money, provide a bridge in our communities for those who do not have enough to eat and conserve resources for future generations.
What to do now?
It’s springtime, COVID-19 means you’re stuck at home, and you’re in dire need of safe
stuff to do around the house. During this quarantine, as we all are staying in homes what
we can do is to reduce food waste and to do composting in homes.
What is composting?
Composting is a process that works to speed up the natural decay of organic material by providing the ideal conditions for detritus-eating organisms to thrive. The end-product of this concentrated decomposition process is nutrient-rich organic material that can help crops, garden plants and trees to grow.
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Food scraps and yard waste together currently make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
All 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 are important for compost development.
Your compost pile should have an equal amount of browns to greens. You should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. The brown materials provide carbon for your compost, the green materials provide nitrogen, and the water provides moisture to help break down the organic matter.
Benefits of Composting
- Enriches soil, helping retain moisture and suppress plant diseases and pests.
- Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
- Encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.
- Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
How to compost at Home?
There are many different ways to make a compost pile; we have provided the following for general reference. Helpful tools include pitchforks, square-point shovels or machetes, and water hoses with a spray head. Regular mixing or turning of the compost and some water will help maintain the compost.
Composting at Backyard
Select a dry, shady spot near a water source for your compost pile or bin.
- Add brown and green materials as they are collected, making sure larger pieces are chopped or shredded.
- Moisten dry materials as they are added.
- Once your compost pile is established, mix grass clippings and green waste into the pile and bury fruit and vegetable waste under 10 inches of compost material. Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This usually takes anywhere between two months to two years.
Optional: Cover top of compost with a tarp to keep it moist. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. This usually takes anywhere between two months to two years.
Food Wastage and Composting
If you do not have space for an outdoor compost pile, you can compost materials indoors using a special type of bin, which you can buy at a local hardware store, gardening supplies store, or make yourself. Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. A properly managed compost bin will not attract pests or rodents and will not smell bad. Your compost should be ready in two to five weeks.
Type of Waste and Waste Generators
Backyard or onsite composting is suitable for converting yard trimmings and food scraps into compost that can be applied on site. This method should not be used to compost animal products or large quantities of food scraps. Households, commercial establishments, and institutions (e.g., universities, schools, hospitals) can leave grass clippings on the lawn-known as “grass-cycling” where the cuttings will decompose naturally and return some nutrients to the soil. Backyard or onsite composters also might keep leaves in piles for eventual use as mulch around trees and shrubs to retain moisture.
Climate or Seasonal Considerations
Climate and seasonal variations do not present major challenges to the backyard or onsite composting because this method typically involves small quantities of organic waste. When conditions change-for example, if a rainy season approaches- the process can be adjusted accordingly without any complications.
Improper management of food scraps can cause odors and also might attract unwanted attention from insects or animals.
Backyard or onsite composting requires very little time or equipment. Education is the most critical aspect of backyard or onsite composting. Local communities might hold composting demonstrations and seminars to encourage homeowners or businesses to compost on their properties.
The conversion of organic material to compost can take up to two years, but manual turning can hasten the process considerably (e.g., 3 to 6 months). The resulting natural fertilizer can be applied to lawns and gardens to help condition the soil and replenish nutrients. Compost, however, should not be used as potting soil for houseplants because of the presence of weed and grass seeds.
What else to do?
Apart from composting what we should do in our homes is to generate less waste by using biodegradable products. Get your family pack bamboo toothbrushes for the best toothbrushing experience. Use a reusable cup for your morning coffee, and one for the water you sip throughout the day. The same goes forever eco bamboo cutlery while eating. Also, take your organic produce bags to the supermarket. Always use eco-friendly mineral water bottles.
The current climate changes and Global warming in the World have majorly being caused by the materials we use in our daily life. We can prevent it by using biodegradable products e.g. eco bamboo toothbrush, reusable stainless-steel drinking bottles/straws, reusable cotton mesh grocery bags, etc. This can help a lot. By doing this we can help our planet by staying homes.