If you’re not already composting, the start of a new year is a good time to start afresh and plan to do so.
Last year I attended a very interesting seminar at the chambers given by Nuala on behalf of theStop Food Waste Campaign which, apart from giving us a free source of organic matter, explained why composting is so important. The campaign is a great initiative primarily aimed at reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfill each year, and encouraging us to think more carefully about how we shop, cook and eat.
Their website is a mine of information and well worth a look but a couple of points that were highlighted include:
- The average person throws out the equivalent of three grown men of waste each year, 30% of which is made up of food and 7% of garden and landscaping materials.
- One third of food that Irish households buy is wasted – the equivalent of a third of our groceries being stolen out of our shopping trolleys.
- The average household could save up to €1,000 a year by avoiding this waste by composting.
From our own perspective I’m so glad we have chickens and dogs for the cooked food leftovers. We also keep our waste to a minimum by writing weekly shopping lists and compost as much as we can, just using a few old pallets to make a couple of containers to contain it. Those practices combined with recycling, means that our family of five produces on average one black bin bag of refuse destined for the landfill every two weeks.
Nuala highlighted a few different composting systems and I was particularly interested in the ones for smaller gardens, as I’m often asked about them.
One was a Bokashi which seems like a really handy way of composting if you don’t have a big garden but use an allotment. Wormeries are another great alternative to compost bins and heaps, especially if you don’t currently compost because you’re worried about vermin. It’s worth keeping an eye on the catalogues or in your garden centres as different products become available, such as this Earthmaker Aerobic Composter where research has shown that it will make twice as much compost as traditional bins over the same period.
If you have a few minutes, do take a couple of minutes to check out the Stop Food Waste website above.
For anybody who isn’t already composting and doesn’t have the Brown bin option for their ‘green’ waste, it was suggested that they get a small bucket with a lid and throw all their food waste into it for a week or two to see how much is thrown away.
Would you be willing to give that challenge a go?
If you’d like to know more about composting, there’s a free downloadable pdf file available in the Gardening Information and Jobs link above, giving full details on how to compost.
As they say, waste not want not. Wow, 300kg's of waste, I can only imagine what it is here in the US.
So I had to look it up and see how wasteful we really are in the United States, it's really bad…pretty sad too –
"According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds (13 kg) per week and 1,600 pounds (726 kg) a year. If this sounds like a staggering number, you would be surprised to know that Americans are not the number one producers of garbage in the world. In Mexico, the average household produces 30 percent more garbage than in America."
It's quite shocking isn't it…. and it's mostly down to changing habits. In South Korea they managed to totally change peoples habits using different measures – householders have their food waste collected in bags that have to be purchased locally so the more they generate the more they pay. In Ireland we have a plastic bag tax resulting in an immediate change in habits – we now all take our own bags shopping and only buy plastic ones when we really have to.
This post was written last year but has been updated to include details of our own waste practices. Very relevant now given how the squeeze on everyone's pockets is getting tighter!
The Bokashi one is the one that I do and it really works faster and much better than my compost bin for which I spent $100!!
That's interesting to hear. I haven't met anyone yet who uses the Bokashi so great to find that it works!
[…] with talks on composting, or you can make your own out of pallets. I wrote a post about The Stop Food Waste Campaign a while back where we were told we could save up to €1,000 a year by composting our kitchen […]
[…] from offering the opportunity for FREE soil conditioner, just thinking about food waste in general could save you over €1,000 a year – enough for a summer break! Here’s a handy downloadable PDF that explains how to […]