By Salt Lake Valley Landfill Compost Marketer & Recycling Specialist, Zak Breckenridge
As we mentioned in our last post, compost is awesome! And when you put yard trimmings, leaves, vegetable and fruit scraps, and more in your curbside brown compost container, you’re engaging in one of the best forms of local recycling: Composting.
About 30% of what we put in the trash could be turned into compost, which has a big impact on our community carbon emissions and our landfill space.
But what do you do if you don’t have access to curbside yard waste disposal?
Or, perhaps you prefer to skip the brown bin and make your own nutrient-rich compost for your vegetable, flower gardens, and lawn.
Whatever the case may be, today we’re focusing on at-home composting, which gives you the convenience of fresh compost right at home, plus all of the environmental benefits of putting your kitchen and yard waste to good use.
Of course, there isn’t only one right way to compost. While composting methods share the same basic principles, there are many factors to keep in mind. Read on to learn about the main composting techniques so you can decide what method will work best for you.
by Salt Lake Valley Landfill Compost Marketer & Recycling Specialist, Zak Breckenridge
It’s variably called the “yard waste bin,” the “brown can,” or the “compost container.”
Whatever name you give it, all Salt Lake City Waste & Recycling customers have the familiar brown canand use it to dispose of leaves, yard trimmings, small branches, grass, weeds, and other green waste.
It can also take your fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, and tea bags.
Today we’re taking a deep dive into the brown can. We’re (figuratively, not literally) getting down and dirty not only with what should and shouldn’t go in your bin, but also what happens to all of that “green waste” at its destination?
We all know that putting carrot tops and tomato stems in the compost is somehow better than putting them in the trash, but how do your food scraps and yard waste become a useful and valuable natural product that’s also better for the environment and better for our community?
Summer is here and along with it are the Salt Lake City area Farmers Markets. June 7th and 8th marked the start of another great summer of Farmers Markets with theLiberty Park Farmers Market on Friday night and the Downtown Farmers Marketon Saturday morning. The markets ushered in summer with everything from delicious food trucks to fresh heirloom vegetables to artisan dog cookies!
On Saturday, interns from SLCgreen tabled alongside farmers and vendors including Buzzed Coffee, Raclette Machine, Mamachari Kombucha, Volkers Bakery, and many more. Salt Lake City’s Farmers Market are a great way to support local growers; eat fresh, locally grown food; and to learn about sustainability projects in Salt Lake City.
Support Farmers Markets
Salt Lake City supports community-based food production as a means of making fresh, sustainable foods more readily accessible.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, bringing the friend and family food fest with it! While we prepare the feast and give thanks for the plentiful food we have, it is important to consider the amount of food that goes to waste this holiday season.
Food is one of the most important areas of sustainability in our daily lives and it is often overlooked! Reducing food waste is important for everyone because it saves both money and resources.
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates 35 percent of turkey meat cooked at Thanksgiving gets wasted?
That’s a lot of wasted resources!
When we reduce food waste we save:
The resources and water used to grow crops and raise animals
Manufacturing and energy resources
Transportation resources and greenhouse gas emissions
Money by buying less and throwing away less
Disposal costs and emissions
That last one is significant– food sent to landfills is a powerful source of methane. A whopping 40 percent of food meant for eating is thrown away.
All of this rotting food produces a lot of greenhouse gases. In fact if food waste could be represented as its own country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China and the U.S.
Welcome to SLCgreen Connections, an occasional series highlighting SLCgreen’s fantastic local partners—the people and organizations with whom we work closely to make Salt Lake City a greener, more vibrant, and sustainable city!
by Ardyn Ford, SLCgreen intern
It is the rideshare of philanthropy: simple, quick, and on your own time. Designed with the fast-paced nature of the modern world in mind, Food Rescue US makes it easy to make a significant difference without overbooking your calendar.
Currently, Americans waste 40 billion pounds of food every year. This translates to 40% of the food supply. On the other side of this waste stands 50 million food insecure Americans who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. If you do the math, you’ll discover that the food being wasted could feed 36 million people three meals a day. There is a clear disconnect here.
Food waste is also a large source of carbon pollution–that includes all the wasted energy it took to grow, transport, and package the food in the first place, as well as the direct emissions rotting food produces in landfills.
So this Earth Week, learn more about what this unique organization is doing about it– and how you can get involved!
In Salt Lake City, we’re proud to offer curbside compost collection for residents. That means those brown bins can take more than just leaves and twigs– they can take your fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds.
However, food waste is still a big problem. In the U.S. nearly 40% of the nation’s food supply is thrown out, and according to the EPA, 20% of what goes to municipal landfills is food waste.
While compost operations can handle raw fruit and vegetable scraps, a missing piece of the food waste puzzle– particularly for large operations– is what to do with prepared products. This includes cooked foods, packaged foods, meat, cheese, and leftovers from someone’s dinner plate.
Slated for operation in fall of 2018, the company will open an “anaerobic digester” that will be able to turn organic waste– including fats, oils, and grease– into sustainable resources –– biogas and bio-based fertilizer. This project, which will help to greatly reduce the amount of food going to our landfill, will also generate energy.
Today is World Food Day. World Food Day is a day of action against hunger. On October 16, people around the world come together to declare their commitment to eradicate hunger in our lifetime. Because when it comes to hunger, the only acceptable number in the world is zero.
Reducing food waste is an important component of climate action at home and worldwide.
Worldwide Food Waste Facts
Every year, consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (222 million vs. 230 million tons)
The amount of food lost and wasted every year is equal to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crops (2.3 billion tons in 2009/10)
So what can you do? Here are the recommendations from the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office of North America:
Think. Be a smart shopper and think about what you are buying and when it will be eaten. Wasting food is often a subconscious act – become aware of how much food you throw away. Plan meals and use shopping lists. Bring your leftovers home from restaurants in reusable containers.
Eat. Become a more mindful eater. Eyes bigger than your stomach? Request smaller portions and become a leftovers guru.
Save. Save your food, save your money and save the environment. Donate to food banks and become a conscious consumer.