On Ours to Protect this week we asked all Ocean FM listeners to be aware of food waste and to consider home composting.
Did you know…
- Reducing food waste has been identified as one of the most effective actions we can take to combat climate change. Growing, transporting and storing our food all require energy and water, along with packaging, labour, machinery and other resources. All of this activity generates greenhouses gases which drive climate change
- it was estimated that 28% of the global agricultural land is used to grow food that ends up being wasted
- Food waste sent to landfill does not harmlessly break down but instead releases methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide – composting limits this and binds gases in the soil
- Every household in Ireland is responsible for 117kgs of food waste per year – that’s between €400 and €1,000 per household per year thrown into the bin
What about composting?
- Composting is a biological process that needs organic waste, water and air. Composting involves a wide variety of organisms naturally present in our environment
- It is quite simple to make a home-made box for the earthworms that can be filled with organic matter such as kitchen waste and scraps, damp brown leaves, sawdust, clean wood shavings or shredded paper
- The worms will eat nearly all types of kitchen waste, just be careful to keep an eye on the pH — onions, garlic and peppers, for instance, are all quite acidic and should only be added in moderation
- An added benefit of using a worm composter is that the liquid that is created during the composting process, referred to as “worm tea” also makes a fantastic liquid feed for the garden, very high in nutrients and also high in anti-fungal properties
- Once they have finished feasting, the worms produce worm casts that are perfect for enriching the soil
- Food Waste collected through kerbside collections can be sent to a composting site or to an anaerobic digestion plant to make green energy
What can I do to improve the health of my soil?
- Compost encourages more life in the soil and is a key mechanism to allow plants to take in carbon dioxide by promoting healthier and more vital plant growth.
- Adding compost makes soil stronger and more resilient to changes in climate
- Mulching is a simple process of placing organic matter such as grass clippings, leaves and pruning material in thin layers on the surface of the ground and leaving it to decompose. Humus is gradually created over time and the nutrients go back into the soil
- Leaving fine grass cuttings in the lawn allows them to decompose naturally and feed the nutrients back into the soil helping to aerate the ground through the action of worms and preventing it from drying out in the warm and windy weather.
For tips on preventing food waste
Info on making your own wormery
Comprehensive Downloadable Guide to Home Composting