AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: Reducing the Compost Pile, Part I DATE: 5/25/2008 12:36:00 PM ----- BODY:
After just two weeks of composting, my bin already has a good base. Though this is not necessarily something to be proud of… much of it is the product of food waste – overly ambitious food projects, last minute dinner invitations that mean I cook less at home despite a full fridge, etcetera.

I’ve become increasingly interested in the issue food waste after reading an article in the New York Times last week. It ties in with the issue of reducing our carbon foot-print as well as rising food costs. As I blogged about earlier, and has been well documented in the press lately, food scraps in our trash ends up in land-fills and adds to greenhouse gases in the form of methane. We can reduce this effect by composting, but this does not address the second issue of rising food costs.

Do you recall being admonished (or hearing stories of others) for not cleaning your plate because there are starving children in Ethiopia, China, India, etcetera? The cynicist doubts that clearing our plates will reduce world-wide hunger. After all, how will the food from my plate get to those needy families? Another rebuttal is that I have already paid for the food, so I own it and can throw it away if I want. The answer is a matter of supply and demand. If I take more than I need, supply is decreased, and demand is increased thereby raising prices. If I only buy what I will consume, the supply is increased and prices decrease.

Again, like composting, how can the little things I do make a difference? Supermarkets and restaurants are the biggest culprits – with supermarkets throwing away produce with the slightest blemish, lest they tarnish their reputation for the freshest and best produce. And restaurants serving more than any person can eat in a single sitting – leaving the diner to waste the food or bring it home in a doggy bag and hope it makes its way into a subsequent meal. The best I can do is align my beliefs with my actions that demonstrate my concern. This alignment can be viral and incite the bigger players to take action.

You can read more about this issue at Jonathan Bloom’s Blog:

With dancing thoughts of reforming my wasteful ways, I embarked on some culinary adventures…. Stay tuned.

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