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Food Grows Food: Composting for All

Written by Judy Thurlow on . Posted in Uncategorized

Jaclyn Hochreiter, public outreach coordinator for Addison County Solid Waste Management District, shows a worm-composting bin to workshop participants. Photo by Melissa Pasanen

By Melissa Pasanen

So, you’ve made quiche with sautéed kale stems and leftover grilled salmon; you’ve taken the last portion of tomato soup to your elderly neighbor; and you’ve trained the kids to grab the fruit out of the “Eat Me First!” box in the fridge.

But what to do with the rinds, skins, bones and other food waste beyond what is suitable to feed your neighbor’s backyard chickens? Sure, until the full rollout of the Universal Recycling Law (Act 148), which prohibits all food waste from landfills by 2020, you can toss them in the trash, but there is a much better option: compost and use food scraps to grow more food!

To recap: As much as 40 percent of the food produced in the world goes to waste. This is a waste not only of food and money but also of all the natural and human resources it takes to produce that food, as well as valuable and scarce landfill space. And, contrary to what many people think, food waste will not decompose in the landfill; instead, it rots very slowly and emits a significant amount of methane, a potent, destructive greenhouse gas.

Here is a summary of Vermont’s hierarchy of how to cut food waste and put it to constructive use: 1) cut waste at the source, 2) redirect food to people, 3) feed animals, and 4) use food waste in compost and anaerobic digestion. Last week, we shared ten tips to get you started on reducing food waste [http://vermontlife.com/waste-not-want-not], this week, we’ll share some composting resources.

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