Author: Zo Zhou
Every year Australians throw away an estimated three million tonnes or $5.2 billion of food, wasting the resources used to harvest, transport, process and distribute this food. However, there's much we can do while we're at work to reduce this staggering statistic. Like other forms of waste, the most positive action we can take is to avoid as much food waste as possible, by planning in advance, preparing the right amount of food, and by helping food stay fresher for longer by storing it appropriately. For tips and tricks to help you reduce your food waste at work, visit the Love Food Hate Waste website.
However, no matter how careful you are, there'll always have some unavoidable food scraps such as fruit and vegie peelings. Even here, you can reduce our impact by recycling food scraps through a dedicated collection service, or in a worm farm or compost bin.
When food scraps are sent to landfill, they decompose without oxygen (anaerobically) to produce methane, a greenhouse gas with over 20 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide. Decomposing food scraps are also a potential source of leachates (liquid that drains from landfills) that can contaminate surface and ground water. So whichever way you look at it, sending food scraps to landfill is not ideal.
By choosing to recycle food scraps at work, you'll be helping the environment, and you may even reduce your organisation's waste management bill. Small to medium businesses may consider installing a worm farm or composting bin in the workplace, to allow staff to compost their own lunch leftovers, tea bags, and fruit and vegie scraps.
To get you started, we've just released a brand new video tutorial, presented by Gardening Australia host and Planet Ark ambassador, Costa Georgiadis, which tells you everything you need to know about composting and worm farming in the workplace.
If on-site composting or worm farming isn't an option for your workplace, search for nearby Food Scraps recyclers onBusinessRecycling or call 1300 763 768 to find out about the services available in your area. Some recyclers will even help you find special bins, to help you conveniently manage food scraps in your workplace kitchen.
As Costa says on the video, happy composting!