Food Waste: How to Reduce It and How to Properly Dispose of It

How much food does your household throw away? It can seem like a waste of money, and it certainly is, but throwing away food can also have a detrimental effect on the environment. When organic material is placed in a landfill, it is deprived of oxygen and begins a process known as anaerobic decomposition. This produces toxic methane, which can make its way to the surface where it's released into the atmosphere. Decomposing organic matter that is not deprived of oxygen (above ground) releases carbon dioxide, which is still a pollutant, but is far less harmful than methane. It's not as though you can simply allow old food to simply rot away, so what can you do with old food?


The most effective way to prevent throwing away food is to take steps to prevent it from happening. Note how much food your household throws away in a week so that you can gain a more accurate picture of the problem. You should then utilise this knowledge in your shopping, as well as your eating. Your food shopping is motivated by what your family needs, but you might also be influenced by whatever the special deals of the week might be. Do not buy more than you're capable of consuming. You will even end up saving money. This should also be reflected in the size of the meals you prepare. Be mindful about cooking more than is likely to be eaten for the meal. Sure, leftovers can be put into the fridge for later, but this is not a guarantee that they will be consumed at a later stage. Despite your best efforts, there still will be instances when you need to actually throw food away. So what's the most sensible way to do this?


Setting up a compost bin in your backyard is the best way to get rid of old food. Essentially any types of old food can be composted, even though you might only be used to composting fruit and vegetable scraps. Meat and dairy products can certainly be composted as well, but you need to make an extra effort to ensure that the process is effective. Of course, rotting meat will create an unpleasant smell, so your compost bin should have a lid. If you are disposing of meat or dairy products, you might wish to then apply a layer of lawn clippings before closing the bin. This will help to contain the smell. You can also obtain a compost bioactivator from any garden shop. These products are rich in microorganisms which speed up the composting process.


Try to avoid throwing away food in your household wheelie bin as part of regular rubbish removals service. The contents of these bins are sorted after collection, and food can contaminate any reusable or recyclable items inside. The same applies if you have rented a skip bin—any old food can render anything else inside the bin unusable. If you need to dispose of old food in a wheelie bin or skip bin, it should be separated. Place it inside a sturdy plastic bag which should be sealed. This will contain the food waste, so that the other contents of the bin will not be affected.

Sometimes food waste is unavoidable. You can, however, reduce the amount of food that is wasted, and you can also ensure that you properly dispose of it.