As I research the causes of food waste, I recognize that household waste is a huge part of the problem. Did you know that food is the single biggest source of garbage in our landfills? We tend to think of it as not a big deal. It's just the plate scrapings, or that old head of lettuce. In truth, household food waste is 44% of the food being wasted in America.
Now, we all know that a lot of that food isn't edible -- that's why it's in the trash. It''s rotting or partially eaten or it's just the pits and the peels. And what is that stuff? The infancy of dirt!
We can have a large impact on reducing landfills if we take the next step with our food waste. In landfills, it'll be compressed so tightly that it can't decompose naturally. But we can help our own dirt stay rich and productive by adding our food waste back into the earth, as nature intended. And you don't have to get all fancy and have a degree in composting.
Here's what I do: I have a 5-gallon bucket outside on the back deck. I have a 2-quart tub on my kitchen counter. As I cook, and as I do dishes, food waste goes in the little tub. When it's full, it goes out to the bucket. When the bucket is full, I dig a hole 2 feet deep and about 4 feet long. I dump the bucket in there and replace the dirt. Then I put a marker at the end of the row so I know where to dig the next hole.
I don't worry about whether my bucket has protein or fat or all those things I used to think were important to keep out of the compost. If I have to be that diligent, I won't get it done (although I do separate out pure fat, like bacon grease, and the dog gets meat scraps). I don't have to buy worms and a compost bin and remember to turn it and monitor the temperature. Just put the food back in the dirt, from whence it came. There are plenty of critters already out there that will feast on it and create new, rich soil.
Human-kind has to stop being a parasite on the earth and reclaim our symbiotic relationship with it. Give to the dirt and it will give back to you.