What A Waste! Or Is It? How To Best Deal With Kitchen Waste

I recently met a family that had just moved Chook with chicksfrom a rural area interstate to my city.

They were prepared for changes of jobs and schools and all that entails.

They were prepared for the change from country to city.

They were prepared (well, sort of ;)) for the change of climate (mild coastal temperate to cold continental temperate).

But there was one thing that they weren’t prepared for that took them by surprise.

Because of the size of their family, they were given an ‘executive’ home to rent while they find permanent accommodation.

Now, an ‘executive’ home is means pretty large and well-appointed…with pretty much everything designed to look good and be immaculate…to make entertaining, being an executive, and impressing people easier. (At least, that’s what they tend to be in my area ;-P)

Of course, that means that the garden is purely ornamental…with nothing out of place.

And certainly no mess.

Or things like veggie gardens…or compost bins…or (God forbid!) CHOOKS!

It happens that these good, country, environmentally aware people were used to keeping chooks.

Chooks are wonderful creatures that provide you with food, manure, labour…and organic garbage disposal services.

And, being vegetarians, this family has a lot of fruit and vegetable trimmings to be disposed of.

Which is where their chooks came in…converting their organic waste into valuable food and manure.

And while they were prepared to have to find some new hens (or chickens) for their new home, not being able to have any chooks at all came as a bit of a shock.

And they didn’t seem to be able to have a compost bin either.

So they were throwing their organic waste out in the rubbish – while desperately looking for someone in the neighborhood with chooks or a compost bin.

In the meantime, these poor people were feeling terribly guilty…because they know that food waste sent to landfill is the main contributor to the generation of methane, which is a greenhouse gas more than 20 times stronger than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere…and it contributes about another 2% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions.  And we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in order to protect our world as we have known it throughout human civilisation.

What my new friends didn’t know, though, is that, here in Canberra, we capture methane from our rubbish dumps (landfills) and use it to generate electricity…and that if such operations are well managed, they can reduce methane levels and delay emissions for decades…which may be better than home composting.  If you want to read more about how Canberra’s methane capture and generation plants work, click here and if you want to read more about their relative merits compared with composting or doing nothing, click here.

So, throwing organics into the rubbish collection may not be so bad – in Canberra, at least.

But if you are in any doubt about your local rubbish operations, I suggest you do what I do – and what this family is trying to do – and turn your organic ‘waste’ into a resource, with the help of composting or friendly livestock like chooks or worms.

I’d love to hear some of your thoughts, ideas and experiences on dealing with your kitchen trimmings and leftovers.  Just write them in the Reply box below.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!