when food decomposes in a landfill it's sealed away from oxygen. this causes it to release methane rather than just carbon dioxide, which experts say is 20-25 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. ~grant gerlock via harvest public media
somehow we've never thrown much food away at our house. we don't have enough money to be buying excess food. we clean our plates with each meal, because yes, i am blessed with quite un-picky eaters... but i also try to make meals we all love... and not too much. leftovers are prized for next day lunches around here, but we don't often have them. making a weekly menu and a corresponding list is something i won't shop without doing first. even if i am dictating a list to someone writing it down in the car... we only go into the grocery store with a list.
of course there are a few different ways to compost. worm composting speeds the process, specially made bins keep the process contained, and simple burying of compost works too (i didn't know this, but my mom has been burying compost in her yard for years). some areas have curbside compost pick-up and many areas have some place that compost can be brought... like the farmer's market or a nearby farm.
we are blessed to live in a house with a yard... and we want that black gold for our own use. mr. tribe built our compost bin of discarded pallets and wire (pretty much like this, but ours has two sections). this was a simple method and almost free. ;) we add compost to one section until we decide to let that pile sit and really finish turning to dirt... at which point we start to use the other side. we also have a big round of chicken wire next to the compost that we put raked leaves and spent garden plants into (no weeds)... these are the "browns", which i'll get to shortly.
strangely, the only item left behind by the previous owners of our house was a round plastic lidded tub with 2 ventilation valves that can open and close. maybe someone will tell me what its real purpose is, but i thought it would make the perfect vessel for compost collection. it sits next to our sink (something my mom has commented on, "i've never seen compost sitting on the counter"). i'm not sure that is the most lovely spot for it, but it does encourage use... and i would have never known that my mom composts, if it hadn't been sitting there. that makes me think that it might be well-positioned for starting conversations. ;) a lot of people say that compost does not smell. ours does (not outside, but inside)... especially cantaloupe rinds and banana peels (yuck)... but as long as the lid stays on, it's not a problem at all.
that's all it takes to turn organic waste into productive soil. when that black gold is ready (that is, all dirt), it gets added to our garden beds and grows the best vegetables! it amazes me every time to think about how that waste nourishes new life. what an amazing Creator! zero-waste by design!
For more on what to compost...right this way.