Or could you be the problem?
A little harsh? Maybe so, yet we have serious environmental problems piling up, and the solutions are embarrassingly simple; they just take a little effort.
We could have saved the Earth, but we were too damned cheap.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Let’s look at our households, not some exotic offshore corporation but our homes. Now I will narrow it down to our kitchens. Nearly half of the ‘stuff’ most people throw away in landfills is organic waste such as food scraps. Food waste that is thrown away, buried and then rots with the rest of the trash will create harmful greenhouse gases such as CO2 and methane.
When thinking of food wastage, thoughts go to supermarkets and corporate farms. Yet, the statistics show a different story. 43% of food wasted on the planet is from homes that include yours and mine.
Now don’t get me wrong, the other 40% of food wastage comes from supermarkets and restaurants, 16% from farms and 2% manufacturers. But our households are the biggest problem. In 2017, Australia had the world’s largest food waste per capita, with some 361 kilograms of food wasted per capita.
43% of the food waste on the planet is from our homes.
Stats show that 87% of this food waste from our homes can be easily composted in the backyard or at recovery centres (green bins). 42% of the food wasted is fruit and vegetables, easily composted. 26% is dairy which can be converted into natural fertilizers, and 19% grains which could be fed to small animals such as urban chickens.
In the USA alone, this results in 80 million acres of farmland (or 30 % of farmland worldwide) producing food NEVER eaten, which equals 13% of carbon emissions going into the atmosphere for NO reason!
While composting is an incredibly honourable sport, it doesn’t address the emissions, land, water, pesticides and other threats to wildlife that went into producing the uneaten food.
Collectively, if we waste less food, we can save as much greenhouse gas equivalent of taking nearly half a million cars off the road.
The Solution is Simple
- If you live in Australia, use the green bin when throwing away your food waste. If your local council doesn’t have a Recovery Program in place, lobby them to “get with the program”.
- If you don’t have access to a green bin, you can compost your food waste and make soil. You can purchase a black compost bin from most local council offices. Throw the food scraps into the compost bin with other leaf matter, grass clipping and cardboard. You are sure to make soil. If you are unsure how to do this, check out this article.
- For the more adventurous or those living in apartments, make a worm farm. Let the worms eat all your food scraps and make soil for you. Read more here.
If you feel like taking it personally, there are some easy solutions.
- Buy local produce that doesn’t look perfect but tastes perfectly fine. Eat fruit and vegetables full of beautiful flaws.
- Appreciate the whole vegetable. For instance, use the stalks of broccoli and cauliflower to make stock for nutritious soups. Nobody will know the difference.
- Freeze ripe fruit such as bananas for smoothies and tomatoes for the next pasta sauce.
- Check your fridge before you go shopping. Plan your meals a day or two ahead. You’ll also save money for that next holiday.
- Grow your food in your backyard! Ambitious? Why not!
In Australia, if the 4.7 million households that already grow some food wasted only half as much food as the average household, there would be a potential savings of 2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
The objective of Planet Schooling is to support you during your process of moving towards a backyard farm because we are never too old to learn. We will jump through hoops, twirl fire, add a little bit of permaculture design and other techniques to show you how to grow more food, save time and money. A positive step for keeping this big blue ball we call home.