5 ways to deal with food waste


The food waste hierarchy seems to be a well-kept secret.  Yet it is a very important piece of information in the fight against climate change.  Given that food and farming are responsible for such a huge carbon footprint and food waste itself compared to every country’s total carbon emissions, would come in third behind only the USA and China, we really do need to be more familiar with it.

The food waste hierarchy tells you how best to deal with your food waste and here are 5 ways that help you do that:

1. At the top of the hierarchy is to reduce the amount of waste we produce.  Leftover Pie covers lots of ways to do that, from meal planning, better storage, or better use of the bits. Making more of the food we buy is a great way to save money, helps you to get more of the goodness out of your food, and helps you reduce your own carbon footprint.

But even so, everyone will have some food waste.  I certainly do. So assuming you have number one on your to-do list already, what can be done with the waste you still produce?  This is where chapter four comes in.

2. Make use of your council’s separate waste collection if you have one.  You can read more about why this is important in the book, but in short:

  • it save money
  • it reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • it turns a problem into a solution.
What’s not to like?  If you have creatures in your food waste, rest assured you’d have them in your residual waste too – if that’s where you are chucking your waste food. They are probably just hidden by all the other rubbish, so you can’t see them.  Most of the time food waste collections are more frequent than your general waste, so it makes sense to make use of it.
3. Composting at home is a great way to deal with food waste if you have the space.  You can get closed composters, open composters and hot composters.  There will be something that suits your circumstances.  Leftover Pie explains the important part of getting the mix right on your compost to keep it smelling sweet. In short, you need to have the right mix of nitrogen-rich greens and carbon-rich browns.  If your compost starts to smell, hold back on the greens. If your compost looks like it is doing nothing, then hold back on the brown while you add a bit more green, to boost it into action.
4. Most people consider that you can’t compost cooked food.  It is not that cooked food isn’t compostable, just that it is considered to attract unwelcome visitors, particularly of the ratty variety. An alternative, that can deal with cooked food including meat is to have a wormery.
5. If you are short on space and want your compost to break down a bit quicker, consider having a bokashi bin.
All of these ways are good ways to deal with your unavoidable food waste (and of course those little mistakes we all make from time to time when life gets a little out of hand).


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Anna Pitt

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