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Your food waste is causing climate change

By: Ankita Rawat

I’m sure you have all heard the saying, the kitchen is the manufacturing unit of wastes in our houses. Well turns out it’s true, and I have statistics that could blow your mind!

About 100 kgs of food are wasted per person every year, and about 60% of the daily household waste is kitchen waste which includes food waste, fruits and vegetable peels, etc. 

Vegan composting? Want to cut down on the amount of waste you generate? Stay tuned; we got you all covered!

Food Wastage and the Environment

Food waste often ends up in landfills and releases methane gas, which is 84 times as potent as carbon dioxide in the short term. In its first two decades alone, it accelerates global warming and climate change by a rate of 84% when compared to CO2. 

It’s imperative that people begin to see the change they can create from their own homes and start not only to decrease the number of food wastes they collect but also become self-sufficient in handling the waste.

A fantastic way of handling kitchen wastes is to turn it into compost, AKA black gold, to help nurture your soil and plants! 

Basics of Composting

So there are mainly three subdivisions of composting aerobic, anaerobic, and vermicomposting. 

Compost, Ecology, Waste, Garden, Nature, Fertilizer
Image credits: melGreenFR

The most common type amongst urban composters and beginners is aerobic composting:

 If you are a beginner, you can try aerobic composting using a bin or a pot with a lid for keeping the food waste.

  1. Segregate your waste into wet and dry debris – keep the food peels, tea bags, eggshells in the wet waste bin and leaves, compostable plastic, and paper waste in a dry waste bin.
  2. Keep your pot/bin ready with drilled holes ready. Holes will allow the air to pass through the container.
  3. Layer the bin by alternating a green carbon-rich layer (organic kitchen waste) and a brown nitrogen-rich layer (soil, compost, dried leaves, coco peat, wet cardboard pieces). Adding the brown layer fastens the decomposition process. 

Protip: Start and end with a brown layer to avoid odour!

  1. Leave the bin aside, and the compost will be ready in 3-4 weeks. You can shadow dry this compost and use it for your plants. You can use half of the compost for your next batch.

To ensure that the compost is made in a short duration of time, we must add microbes to the mixture. One can do this by adding buttermilk to the mix.

In case you’re a vegan and are not comfortable using buttermilk, you can add garden soil instead!

No Plants, but want to Manage your Kitchen Waste?

  1. You can start a composting unit for your community garden by collaborating with your neighbors.
  2. You can drop off your biodegradable waste at a composting unit or waste management NGO nearby. 

Prevention is Better than Cure

So we’ll now discuss a few steps you could implement to cut down on your kitchen waste:

  1. Instead of composting potato peels, make chips out of them
  2. To prevent the browning of avocados, store them with onion
  3. Blend your food scraps to make plant fertilizer
  4. Use your citrus peels to make a DIY all-purpose cleaner
  5. Instead of composting limp carrots, revive them by submerging them in water and refrigerating them overnight.
  6. Separate your fruits and vegetables to prevent the vegetables from rotting faster.
  7. Make crackers with leftover juice pulp.
  8. Hair masks out of spoilt curd, eggs; Face masks from tomato, orange peels, and tamarind pulp.

Fight off Climate Change by composting in the comfort of your house!

(Inspired by @zerowaste, check their Instagram account for more such tips!)

Ankita Rawat

Ankita Rawat

Ankita Rawat is a software engineer, currently trying to learn more about ways to fight climate change and taking small steps daily to lead a sustainable lifestyle. She is currently associated with Svadhyaya Youth Organisation based in New Delhi.

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