Burying organic waste in landfill is a big problem and it’s not just because of the resources we lose. When organic waste is dumped in landfill, it undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is ~25 times more potent as greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane is, however, also a valuable resource. The natural gas piped into our homes is primarily methane. Landfills are lined with a membrane designed to prevent the release of methane, offering an opportunity to capture and put the resource to use. While this is a great use of this gas, there is always going to be some leakage and the organic matter is lost to anaerobic digestion.
Open row composting, or Aerated Static Pile (ASP) composting, has also been used for recycling organic waste and generates a useful byproduct through aerobic digestion. This system digests the organic matter and prevents the production of methane. Due to odor challenges and concerns about groundwater and surrounding environment, these facilities have been difficult to permit. While there is no silver bullet currently for organic waste, there are many organizations, private businesses, and residents taking this topic seriously and identifying creative solutions for diverting organic matter from the landfill. As we work together, we take a collaborative approach to reaching our 2020 goal of diverting 75% of organic matter from the landfill.
20% of the material Ventura residents send to the landfill from their homes is made up of food waste.
About half of that is inedible – stuff that you typically wouldn’t eat like an avocado skin or corn husks. This means that the other half is preventable – edible food that could have been saved from going to waste. The City of Ventura Environmental Sustainability division encourages all residents to Save the Food with us. Preventing food waste at home can be a challenge, but it is one of the best ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. It all starts with you! For the best tips and not-so-secrets to saving food, check out the info below, crafted by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC), and visit savethefood.com!
Think Like A Food Waste Warrior
Saving food starts with your mindset. It’s stopping for a moment in the grocery store, considering whether that tomato will actually get used this week. It’s crafting dishes to use ingredients on hand.
5 Ways to Revive Food
Don’t give up on that droopy celery just yet. Often a quick fix in the kitchen can transform would-be throwaways into healthy, hearty meals.
Sure, a freezer is useful. But it’s so much more. It’s practically magic — a tool that allows you to push the pause button on food in your kitchen.
Conquer one of the biggest hurdles in deciding when to toss food.
The grocery store is where you commit — to spending both money and the resources it took to grow the food — even if it doesn’t get eaten.
Conservation doesn’t come naturally for many of us — especially when it comes to food.
Planning meals in advance can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. (No, really.) Arm yourself with these ten easy tips and you’ll be scheduling meals and saving food like a pro in no time at all.
So what do you do when you’ve done all you can to Save the Food? Don’t toss it, compost it! Begin by starting your own compost system at home. Scraps from your kitchen can be turned into a rich, healthy soil amendment and used in your garden. Yard waste like grass clippings, tree trimmings and other organic items from your yard can be placed in the brown yard waste bin. It is hauled to Agromin's facility where it is processed into a high-quality mulch used on local agricultural fields.
The City sponsors a compost and vermicompost bin discount program in partnership with Green Thumb Nursery where you can purchase either a worm bin or a compost bin at 50% the retail price. Just show proof of City residence. Free mulch is also available on a first come basis at Cornucopia Gardens, located just off Telephone Road, across from Kimball Community Park. Using mulch and organic compost are great ways to reduce waste, conserve water, reduce need for application of pesticides or fertilizers and help with pest management.
Quick Tips to Prevent Food Waste at Home
- Buy fresh ingredients in smaller quantities more often so you waste less while enjoying fresher ingredients.
- Buy only what you realistically need and will use. Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils.
- Choose loose fruit and vegetables over pre-packaged produce to better control the quantity you need and to ensure fresher ingredients.
- Create your shopping list based on how many meals you expect to eat at home before your next shopping trip. Include quantities on your shopping list to avoid overbuying.
- Keep a running list of meals that your household already enjoys. That way, you can easily choose a meal to prepare Shop your fridge and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have.
Keep Food Fresh
- Don't toss that extra milk! Milk can be frozen up to two months in an airtight container. Don't forget to leave room for the liquid to expand!
- Find a deal on produce or meat at the grocery store? Use your freezer to keep food fresh up to six months. Remove the meat from the store packaging, trim fat, and double wrap in an airtight freezer bag. Fresh vegetables can be blanched before freezing to preserve taste and nutritional value.
- Keep your fridge organized and set at 40 degrees F or slightly cooler. The coldest part of the fridge is the lower shelves. Keep meats and other perishable foods there.
- Set one crisper drawer to low humidity for fruits and other crisper drawers at high humidity for vegetables.
Eat What You Buy
- About 2/3 of the food we don't eat is a result of overbuying and spoilage. Keep an "Eat Now" box in your fridge for leftovers and foods that need to be consumed soon.
- Casseroles, frittatas, soups, and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers and odds and ends.
- Plan an "eat the leftovers" night each week.
- Share food you won't get around to eating with friends neighbors, or coworkers.