HOME: Easy ways to reduce your waste

10 May 2018

Have you ever really looked at your kitchen garbage bin to see what you are throwing out? I didn't think so, I would imagine not many of us do. The thought of sifting through garbage isn't high on my list that's for sure.

It comes down to education. The more you know the better choices you can make and educate your family in our war on waste, and it all begins in your kitchen bin.

There are many things you can do to reduce your families waste volume, and the main one I would start with is food waste.

The average Brisbane household sends more than 260kg of food to landfill each year, which adds up to approximately 120 tonnes of food waste each year, and costs most households $40-$70 per week.

When food waste breaks down in a landfill environment it becomes the main contributor of methane gas. If we stopped food waste in NSW, it would be like taking 117,000 cars off the road.

Simply throwing food away doesn't stop at your kitchen bin but you can easily make changes at home to reduce and work towards zero food waste.

Composting at home

The objective of a family compost is simple. Cut down on food waste and improve soil conditions by using the ultimate recycling process.

What if I told you there is more than one way to compose and reduce your waste and footprint on this earth? You can even compost meat, dairy, bread, eggs & cooked food, but you need to use the right system. You can reduce your kitchen food waste to almost zero, and if you have a dog that eats bones, then you are now ticking all the sustainability boxes.

Reducing household food waste is an important part of working towards a more sustainable existence. So, let's take a look at what available and how they work.

Outdoor compost

Composting outdoors isn't as hard as you might think, and your plants are going to love you for it, especially your veggie patch! There are a few basic rules in an outdoor composting system that utilise the awesome work of garden worms and microorganisms.

reduce waste compost

Composting outdoors is said to be more of a slower system, however, it does have its advantages. It caters for all your garden clippings and leaf litter and you can add in layers of soil. This type of composting is known as a 'hot' composting system.

Basically, you need both carbon and nitrogen ingredients to promote a 'hot' environment towards the centre of your compost and keep the pile aerated by turning it regularly. This will accelerate the composting process. This is when the worms and microorganisms do their thing!

Your end product will be rich organic compost to go directly into your garden beds and be mixed through the soil.

Worm Farms

Operating on a smaller scale, worm farms are considered a 'cool' system that is easy to manage and makes good use of your kitchen waste. A worm farm you purchase, will generally have three layers. The two top trays are where the worms live and they can move freely between the layers, following the food trail. Usually, one of the trays will fill up with worm castings and when it's full remove that layer and you can use these directly on your garden and mixed into the soil.

worm farm2

The bottom layer, where the tap is, will be where the liquid collects from the worms. You should dilute this with water and use directly on the plants as a liquid fertiliser.

Indoor Bokashi Composting

This is where you can compost more than veggie scraps in your kitchen and it fits underneath your kitchen sink. Bokashi is known as a 'fast' composting process. The way this composting system works is through a fermentation process which activates microbial activity to ferment organic waste.
In a way, the Bokashi system complements the worm farm or outdoor composting options, as you can use this process for everything that worms don't eat, such as acidic foods (citrus, onions, tomatoes etc), recycling 100% of your kitchen waste.

All meat products, bread and dairy can also be put into a Bokashi.

All the Microbes in the Bokashi are naturally occurring and have a beneficial effect on the environment. The end result is a fermented food waste that can be placed directly into the soil and buried, turning into rich compost in just a few weeks.

Education is the key with food waste and learning how we can implement the best practice to keep our food waste out of our bins and recycle it back into the earth.


Written by

Rebecca Searles

Becky is a mum who wants to show you how to garden! Her blog Family Garden Life launched in February 2017 as a blog directory for mums who wanted to bring their family closer to nature but weren't sure where to start. While gardening had always been part of Becky’s life, she knew others weren’t as comfortable in the outdoors.

The site offers everything a first-time gardener could want. There’s no stuffy, technical gardening terms, just practical advice from another mum. In a world of overly processed food, excessive packaging, and a growing food waste problem, she sees her garden as making a small contribution to a healthier planet and helping to raise happier, healthier kids in the garden.

Connect with Becky on Facebook.

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