In Ontario about 60% of our food waste is sent to landfills, even though we have over 90 municipal green bin programs in the province! This adds up to about 3.6 million tonnes of food waste per year. Not only is that incredibly wasteful, it also produces methane – a greenhouse gas that can hold about 28 times more heat than carbon dioxide.
To fix this, we need to reduce the amount of food we throw out and make that sure that the food we do throw out is disposed of properly.
Keep reading to learn more about at-home food waste solutions!
What to do about FOG?
As more of us are cooking at home, it’s important to be reminded of the proper ways to dispose of FOG (fats, oils, and grease…oh my!).
Even when FOG are seemingly broken down with hot water or soap, they will solidify and build up in pipes and sewers when they cool. This can result in very expensive and environmentally detrimental consequences: sewage backups in your home or the increased volume of Combined Sewer Overflows (you can read more on this in Green Venture’s Summer Rain Blog series).
FOG and food particles should be scraped or absorbed before washing dishes, and sink baskets are an easy way to prevent missed food bits from washing down the drain.
You can cut down on the amount of FOG entering the sewer systems just like you would cut down on anything—reduce, (re)use, recycle (in the Green Cart)! Reducing is a great (and healthy) start, and later this week we’ll be discussing creative ways to use food wastes, including FOG.
However, we will inevitably need to dispose of FOG eventually, so always remember that the BEST way is by physical disposal and NOT down the drain or toilet.
Using food scraps & FOG in the kitchen!
There’s a lot of uses for food scraps & even FOG that might otherwise go to waste.
Did you know that you can cook…
- Potato peels! Bake with oil and your favourite spices to make potato chips
- Beet tops! Saute with garlic and serve as a green
Did you know that you can regrow…
Green onions and celery! Instead of throwing out the end and the roots, place them in a shallow bowl of water, and watch as they grow.
Did you know that you can freeze…
- Bacon grease to add flavour to other dishes
- Dippings and juices from meats to use in gravies and sauces
Did you know that you can save…
- Oils from jarred foods (like olives, artichokes, or peppers) to use in pasta sauces and salad dressings
- Chickpea water (aquafaba) to make vegan meringue
Alternative Methods of Composting at Home
Maybe you don’t want to use certain food scraps in your cooking, but you still want to make some use of them at home rather than kicking potentially valuable waste to the curb.
We caught up with Hamilton’s Community Permaculture Lab (CPL), to learn a little bit about a type of home composting they’re starting to experiment with, called Bokashi.
Though referred to as ‘Bokashi Composting’, Bokashi isn’t true composting since it uses an anaerobic (no oxygen) process to ferment food scraps, rather than decompose them. Just like other methods of composting however, Bokashi takes your food scraps and turns them to something usable. Bokashi ‘pre-compost’ is added directly to soil, where it is consumed by soil life within weeks, adding nutrients and improving texture.
The main differences between using Bokashi and other types of composting are a quicker turnover time, and the ability to add scraps that aren’t normally compostable, like meat, fat, bones, and citrus.
The CPL is currently experimenting with the following steps:
- Preparing the Effective Microorganisms (EM) responsible for fermenting food scraps
- Setting up and adding to the Bokashi bucket
- Testing use of the Bokashi pre-compost in soil trenches, soil buckets, and traditional compost bins
- Planting with Bokashi!
To learn more about how you can get started on your own Bokashi bucket, provide food scraps to CPL’s project, or simply to follow along with this and other CPL projects, you can contact or follow them on Facebook!
Another form of at-home composting familiar to Green Venture is Vermicomposting: The process of using worms to recycle food waste into rich soil full of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Red wigglers are an ideal species for this process as they are able to quickly consume organic material. There are many methods of vermicomposting that can be done indoors in a small space. Green Venture’s method of vermicomposting is composed of two plastic totes, red wiggler worms, and bedding (mainly shredded paper). To ensure optimal bin health, feed worms fruit and vegetable scraps, cleaned crushed eggshells, coffee grounds and store in a dark environment. You can read more about Vermicomposting on our website.