Author Topic: getting closer to zero food waste  (Read 1486 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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getting closer to zero food waste
« on: December 31, 2019, 12:17:33 PM »
I used to think I was virtuous, because I had almost zero food waste, we almost never throw food out.....then I thought about the 'food' that I don't consider food.   This occurred to me as I was peeling carrots and parsnips for dinner.....I don't want to eat the peel, but I guess it's technically city has a green bin program, so it goes in there, and next year we're moving somewhere where I'll have room for a composter.....but what do folks do with the 'food' that isn't really food?   the trimmings off of food?   Do you just compost and not call it waste?


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2019, 12:53:10 PM »
We compost and I do not call it waste since it does not end up in a landfill and actually goes back into the earth.

That said, we do try and reuse all that we can. But garlic peels and ends of zucchini and onion peels... they gotta go somewhere.

Lucky Penny Acres

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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2019, 01:07:24 PM »
The larger food waste problem is typically throwing out food that spoiled because you bought too much or you didn't eat it in time. If you are doing well on that front - you have the majority of the food waste problem solved.

I view one of the main goal for composting is to prevent food waste from entering landfills because it doesn't breakdown properly there because it is usually sealed in plastic trash bags and isn't turned enough for full composting.

Depending on what the specific items you have are - some scraps can be used to make vegetable broth/stock first - and then you can compost the remnants afterwards so you can an extra use out of the scraps.

I usually just feed most of our food scraps to our goats - but I realize not everyone has a flock of goats and it is really just a much faster method of composting by using their digestive system.


  • Stubble
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2019, 01:32:14 PM »
I consider that compost, not food waste.

I have chickens; they get a lot of veggie and other food scraps. What they donít get either goes into the backyard compost or the curbside green compost bin.

I will sometimes make veggie stock with the peels and ends of veggies. Once theyíve cooked down and are separated from the liquid, I give the chickens the veggie mash thatís left.

We have three earth machine composters in the backyard. When one fills up most of the way, we move onto the next. Itís almost a year before I go back to the first one to empty it. I do throw chicken poop in there so it has to be good and composted before using...a year tends to do it.

Shredded paper makes it into my backyard composters too. I shred scrap paper (junk mail, toilet paper tubes, paper feed bags, paper bags that have worn out, etc) and use it to line the poop board in the coop. That gets dumped in the composters each week (more often in the heat of the summer).

Green curbside bin is usually things we wouldnít compost in the backyard like bones or meat.


  • Walrus Stache
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getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2019, 02:06:41 PM »
Food waste is a problem for us. We put a hard line one week limit on leftovers in our fridge after my sister got a pretty bad case of food poisoning from eating something that had sat around for too long in her fridge. We could always do a better job planing to make sure all leftovers get eaten up in time. We also have two little people who have mercurial tastes. Sometimes Iíll eat their leftovers if they look tasty and havenít been, say, dunked in milk, but if they have the sniffles then their leftovers get dumped.

We have compost though so I donít feel bad about throwing stuff out, or at least not as bad as I would if it ended up in the trash.


  • Bristles
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2019, 02:28:08 PM »
Make your own broth. We had a container in the freezer we would put the parts into and then pull that out when we were ready to make broth.

Chicken bones/beef ribs, Turkey carcass from Thanksgiving.
any veggies that may have gotten a bit sad and wilty in the fridge
carrot peels and small ends
sweet potato peels and small ends
celery ends and leaves
onion and shallot skins(not the roots)
green onion or leek ends(not the roots)
mushroom stems
small amounts of broccoli stems or kale stems


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2019, 04:36:23 PM »
Why do you peel carrots and parsnips?  The skin has a ton of nutrients.  Just scrub them with a vegetable brush.  Personally, I freeze food scraps then give them to pig farmers when I have enough.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2020, 02:32:15 PM »
I am mulling over starting a worm compost in doors. I don't have a ton of space for out door composting. I also, think it would be fun to do with my kid.

I started collecting scraps this week to see how much "waste" we would have. I have found out it is quite a bit. We eat mainly vegetables and meat so the bulk of our scraps can be composted.

I plan on using the soil for our garden. It is annoying having to buy bags of dirt that come in plastic packages.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2020, 05:53:30 PM »
Do you consider recycling waste? As a waste diversion option, I view composting as better than recycling but not as good as reuse.

The fermentation process Bokashi is another option for turning food scraps into soil amendment. The anaerobic, acidic environment created is even thought to be a safe and effective way to deal with scraps of animal products at home (though there has not been a lot of direct research into standards for ensuring destruction of pathogens).

Hula Hoop

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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2020, 06:54:43 AM »
As a teen I worked at a restaurant where they turned carrot tops, onion ends, broccoli stalks etc. into "veggie burgers" and served them to patrons.  People seemed to like them.  Maybe that's an idea?

We also have a green bin and put our scraps in there.  We're generally pretty good about food waste.  Leftovers are eaten as work lunch the following day and we use leftover pasta and veggies in frittata. 


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2020, 07:12:24 AM »
We're pretty good at minimizing food waste. Whatever gets binned we compost ourselves and use in our kitchen garden as fertilizer so I don't consider that waste as per the other posters. Sad veggies go into soups and stock and so do bones either  cut away from meat or whatever is left on the plate after eating something served on the bone. Leftovers from dinner are used as breakfast / lunch or in the kid's lunchbox in school. We also aggressively use the freezer for leftovers and things that might go bad due to change in plans.

And another big point: I don't care what the date on the package says. If it looks ok and smells ok, I eat it.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: getting closer to zero food waste
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2020, 08:22:37 AM »
I give non-brothable veggie scraps (like carrot peels) to our dogs if they want them, otherwise into compost they go.  Highest and best use of such things.