- Cat Harvey
3 Ways To Sustainably Dispose of Food Scraps
One of the challenges to living a more sustainable lifestyle is figuring out how to properly dispose of the extraneous waste you create. While opting out of modern convenience cuts down on your waste significantly, it does force you to get creative and strategic about the ways in which you deal with food scraps.
The challenge is to do this in a sustainable way, one that aligns with the philosophies of self-sufficiency and environmentalism, and still provides some utility for either you or your surroundings.
After some research and personal trial and error, here are some of our favourite ways to dispose of food scraps sustainably:
Cook a vegetable broth
This is by far the tastiest way to dispose of food scraps! Especially in the winter, having this veggie broth is both a treat and an easy way to incorporate any remaining scraps, ensuring every bit of the vegetable is used.
Simply hold on to any extra scraps from vegetables, like onion skin or roots, squash peels, carrot peels, or parsnips when you cook. Store these scraps in a ziploc bag in the freezer to make sure they stay fresh longer.
Once you’ve collected enough, simply boil the food scraps with water, salt, and any extra seasonings you wish to add. There you have it, a homemade vegetable broth and a sustainable way to use your food scraps!
Composting the scraps
Another simple and sustainable way to dispose of your food scraps is by composting them. Eventually, the compost can be used as fertilizer, which is an example of self-sufficiency – rather than throwing your food scraps away and spending money to buy fertilizer from the store, you knock out two birds with one stone. You reduce the household waste, as well as create a useful product that you would need to have purchased otherwise.
Bury scraps in the ground. There is a multitude of ways to compost, the first is to simply bury food scraps in dirt. The only equipment you need is a shovel. Bury the scraps at least 8 inches deep and cover them with dirt to prevent animals from digging them back out.
Purchase a composting device. Alternatively, you can use a three-step composting bin or tumbler to do this process. The first bin contains fresh food scraps or raw compost, and the second bin contains the same material but partially broken down. Finally, the third bin holds fully composted material.
Compost food scraps outside. Another straightforward way to compost is to make a compost pile in a sunny location and combine the food scraps with other natural materials. You can use grass clippings, soil, and even leaf litter. To make sure it composts effectively, try to maintain the brown/green ratio and turn the compost weekly.
A final composting tip: for a faster and more efficient composting process, chop up your scraps with a shovel or spade. This creates more surface area for anaerobic bacteria to attack, expediting the composting process.
Supply them to a farmer. This is an excellent choice for those who live in more urban areas and lack the outdoor space to compost themselves. Many farmers at farmer’s markets will happily take your food scraps to make their own fertilizer.
Providing your food scraps to a farmer ensures that every part of your fruits and vegetables is used, if not by you, then by someone else who can turn them into something valuable.
Feed them to your pet
Now, this option mostly applies to herbivorous pets like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and the like. If you live on a farmstead, your goats, pigs, and chickens will happily help you out to get rid of food scraps. Double-check that the leftover food is safe for your animal friends to eat, and use the rest for veggie broth and compost.
So, there you have it, three simple ways to dispose of your food scraps sustainably. By taking these extra steps to reduce your waste, you’re taking steps towards a more self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle, and can begin to tap into the wonders of simple living.