According to the Sustainability Victoria website.
“Each year in Victoria households throw out 250,000 tonnes worth of food – enough wasted food to fill Melbourne’s Eureka Tower. The average Victorian household throws out approximately $2,200 worth of food each year.”
Now I don’t know about you but $2,200 a year is a lot of money to me and my family. That’s not to mention the huge impact that sending 250,000 tonnes of food waste to landfill each year has on our environment. Oh, and that’s only in Victoria, one of Australia’s smaller states!
We, like many others picked up Bea Johnson’s book Zero Waste Home (www.zerowastehome.com ), and after very little reading quickly decided we needed to do something about our waste. The first step to reducing waste is to reduce how much you bring into your house, keeping this at the forefront of our minds we turned our attention to the waste we were still generating. We looked through our bins and found where most of it was coming from, the kitchen.
Since moving to a rural area we have started growing fruits and vegetables creating a need for a lot of compost. This is where the answer was found for us.
We quickly and cheaply (Free!) built a Two Bin composting system. Very simply you fill one bin making sure that you keep it moist, (and free of meats or animal products in general). Once bin #1 is full, you flip it over into bin #2, adding some carbon matter throughout the process, and let it sit for 3-6 months depending on your climate. You now have bin #1 empty again ready to be filled. By the time you fill this bin again, bin #2 can be emptied out into your garden, given to friends for their gardens, sold out the front of your house through an honour system or social media pages, your options are pretty bountiful, especially considering we’re talking about repurposed rotten food.
The benefits of composting are numerous especially if you are growing your own food or just want to aid in soil rejuvenation, but what I want to focus on here is the amount of waste being sent somewhere else. For me I realised that ‘somewhere else’ is a real place with real problems. Problems that come directly from my family’s waste. We now compost nearly 70% of our waste, including paper and cardboard (Junk Mail!). We have been able to have a household landfill waste bin that does not require a bin bag because all of our ‘wet’ waste goes into our compost bin. For the sake of transparency, we do still have disposable nappies and wipes, but changed from supermarket brands to purchasing from Eco Originals, a biodegradable option. (Take a look at their site for details on their biodegradable rates. https://www.ecoriginals.com.au/ We have no affiliation, we pay for our subscription and I am sure there are other disposable environmentally conscious options available)
In short for our family, it was time to start applying our purposeful living principles to our waste as well as our consumption.