What can you do with your food waste? In Australia, over 5 million tonnes of food ends up in landfill. Organic waste like food scraps and garden trimmings can of course be diverted from landfill by carefully separating it into your green bin for collection - but why not consider using these scraps to start your own compost! Worm farms, garden composting and kitchen composting are three popular options many people use.
Worm farms are great for the environment as they break down organic matter rapidly and turn it into a rich fertiliser for your garden. This option suits you if you don’t necessarily produce a lot of food scraps, have a smaller place and do not have any garden materials (e.g. grass clippings or leaves) that you need to get rid of. You can keep your worm farm in a courtyard or on a balcony.
Composting will best suit you if you have space to place a compost unit, lots of garden waste, (as you would want to be using 50/50 food scraps and garden waste), and a big garden to fertilise. Composting allows you to add in a larger volume and greater variety of food scraps than in a worm farm, and you can also put in your garden clippings. Composting accelerates the natural process of decomposition to convert organic waste matter into a nutrient-rich soil you can use on your garden. There are a variety of types of compost bins to choose from such as open-bottomed barrels, freestanding tumblers or in-ground composter.
You can also consider a bench-top kitchen bin that breaks down your kitchen scraps into compost. Kitchen composting may suit you best if you live in an area with no outdoor space and have somewhere to bury the fermented matter. You can put practically anything in these and then use a microbe mix to ferment the matter and consequently break down the food waste, which will also reduce odours.
As a general guide, if it comes from the ground, it can be compostable. Therefore, this would include vegetables, fruit scraps, grains, coffee grounds and filters, tea, herbs, spices, nuts, eggshells, leaves, and plant trimmings. Paper towel, napkins and cardboard can also be included in some systems.
Whichever option you choose - a worm farm, garden composting, or even kitchen composting – you can expect to reduce the amount of rubbish you put in your bin each week by half.