Say No to Food Waste!

For something that infuses us with nutrition and the energy to carry us through the day, we sure take food for granted.

Sure, we LOVE food. We constantly take foodfies when dining out at a new place; we expertly say “it has a very full rounded taste” when a new dish indulges our palate; and we watch cooking shows like Netflix’s Chef’s Table religiously. But what happens when you don’t finish your plate? No idea. It will most likely end up in the waste bin, ready to be transported far far away to landfills along with the non-organic waste.

According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), Indonesians throw away a staggering 13 million tons of food each year—that’s a LOT of food waste! However, perhaps we can take solace in the fact that we’re only placed second after Saudi Arabia as the country that produces the most food waste?

To be fair, in most developing countries infrastructure and transport plays a huge role in the reason why we produce so much food waste. (Conversely, in developed countries, consumers are the primary actor in producing them.) The long trip and lack of proper storage contributed to overripe and misshapen food—and of course we like our food to look perfect!

Down to Earth

One solution to remedy the problem: compost!

Long ago, humans only produce organic or biodegradable waste. The only “packaging” that we know of were made from leaves—like banana leaves—and once it’s done, it’s okay to dump them in the backyard or out into the river where it will degrade naturally. (Ironically, we still retain that habit which contributes to the now much decried plastic pollution in the ocean.)

Compared to other waste, today we actually still produce more food waste and biodegradables (around 65%) but most of us just don’t do anything with it. Like most waste: it’s only going to landfills where it will collectively create methane, a gas 25 times more potent than CO2 that causes climate change.

And to think that there are so many exceptional benefits that you can reap from composting…

Every year, the Canada-based Compost Foundation sets May 6 to 12 as International Compost Awareness Week that encourages all levels of society to create programs that promote composting.  This year’s theme is Compost! Building a Better Future, which highlights how this one simple act can have a huge social and environmental impact. “Now more than ever, it’s extremely important to renew and regenerate our global soil,” says Frank Fransiosi, Executive Director of the Compost Foundation. “Composting and compost use can aid in fighting global climate change.”

Sounds awesome, right? In line with what the short doc The Compost Story conveys, compost indeed has “super powers”!

When we separate our food waste for compost, we also prevent the food waste to be in contact with the non-organics that are in our other bin. Because once the potentially recyclable waste—paper, plastic bottles, cans—are contaminated, then the chance of it having a second life deteriorates.

In simpler terms, when we compost our kitchen waste, we replicate nature’s way in regenerating itself: what grows from earth, comes back to earth. “True, compare to man-made waste like plastic, food waste indeed poses less of a threat to the environment because it degrades naturally,” says Ketut Mertaadi, Managing Director of ecoBali. “But by turning their kitchen waste into compost, instead of someone else collecting that waste for them, we’re hoping that it can create some sort of ‘bond’ with their own waste.”

It sounds peculiar to be “connecting” with our waste, but it simply means that we are being responsible for our own waste and seeing it as a byproduct of our activity. Add to that, isn’t is satisfying to see that our beautiful fruit- and flower-bearing garden is a result of simply returning our food waste back into the earth?

See, it all comes full circle. 

If you need more reason to compost your waste, here are six of them…

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