On average, every Australia produces about 180kg of food and garden waste a year (abc.net.au). That is a lot of waste that ends up in landfill each year. We can each do our part to ensure that we are minimising this waste. Here are our top tips on how to reduce waste at home.
Plan, plan, plan. Effective planning can go a long way when trying to reduce waste at home. Meal planning and creating a shopping list will help ensure you are only purchasing the items that you need. Do a stocktake of what is in your pantry and fridge, so you know what you already have. The bonus is that you will also save money by doing this.
Less is more. Whilst purchasing in bulk has its benefits, it is best to buy fresh fruit and vegetables more frequently but in smaller quantities. This will ensure that you are consuming them before they spoil and you’re not throwing any rotten food away.
Start a herb (or vegetable) garden. Have you ever been cooking a recipe that calls for ¼ cup of parsley so you buy a whole bunch with every intention to use the remainder up but by the end of the week you’re throwing it away? By growing your own herbs you’ll constantly have a fresh supply on hand and no waste! For those bunches of herbs that we have no immediate use for, consider turning it into a pesto and freezing it for a later date. Growing your own vegetables means you’ll be able to pick you vegetables as you need them. Kids love being outside so make sure you get them involved. And nothing tastes better than your own home grown produce.
Storage. Make sure you are storing your foods correctly as incorrect storage can lead to your food spoiling quicker. Dry foods should be stored in airtight containers to avoid weevils and moisture. You can also put your dry goods such as rice, pasta and flour in the freezer for 24 hours to kill off any potential weevil eggs. Leftovers can often be frozen and stored to defrost and eat at another time. If your freezer is susceptible to giving your foods the dreaded freezer burn, wrap things until in glad wrap followed by a layer of foil to prevent this from happening.
Compost. More on this later, but having your own compost bin will allow you to put those carrot skins and veggie offcuts to good use and soon enough you will have your own nutrient rich fertiliser for your herb and vegetable garden.
Compost is the process of recycling and decomposing your organic material such as food scraps, leaves, old vegetable plants, grass clippings and animal products. The end product is a nutrient-rich matter that can be used in your garden to add nutrients to your soil and nourish growth.
Benefits of composting:
Composting can be as easy and as involved as you want it to be. Just make sure you have fun, get out in the sunshine and teach and encourage your children along the way.