Sticking with my green energy theme this month, I wanted to talk about something that we can do to help reduce the stress we as Americans place on our landfills. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t even need landfills? Of course it would, but until that day comes let’s practice some a simple thing that can help reduce our need for them by putting less in there.
I was watching a program the other night on renewable technologies and one of the segments of the show was talking about turkey, chicken, duck and goose feathers. Americans consume a large number of these animals as food and in order to get these animals into edible form they must first get plucked of their feathers. This creates about 40 billion feathers on a yearly basis. That is a whole lot of landfill space!
As you may already know a lot of feathers are recycled in the form of stuffing for pillows, jackets, mattresses, and even home insulation. By recycling the feathers these companies are reducing the need for additional landfill space. You are probably thinking that is great but what does this have to do with me right?
Well there is one small thing we can do to reduce our own personal need for landfill space. On the surface it looks trivial and you may not think you are making a difference, but when you see the numbers (that I will show in a second), you will see just how your small effort makes a huge impact.
I am talking about the recycling of food waste. Did you know that you can actually recycle your food waste? Well it is true, in fact, when done properly you actually reintroduce nutrients back into the ground that may be deficient.
Instead of throwing your food waste away, save it in an air tight Tupperware bowl and then when the bowl gets filled, pick an area of your yard where you will dig a hole about two to three feet deep and dump the food into. Fill the hole back in by covering the food waste with the dirt. Now mark the area with a stick so you don’t dig up the same spot again for 6 months and you are done.
What happens at this point is worms will find the food waste, eat it, and then the worm’s own waste will turn into compost for your soil. In fact, worm composting is the best thing you can do to your soil. It replenishes much needed nutrients into your soil and it is a lot safer than chemical fertilizers.
The average person will have about 2 to 3 pounds of food waste in a given week. That is over 900 million pounds of food waste on a weekly basis or over 46 billion pounds of food waste every year. Now imagine if each person composted their food waste. You can see just how much space you will save and at the same time helping out the Earth’s soil.
The best part of this form of recycling is it is free. All it takes is a Tupperware bowl, a shovel to dig the hole and about 2 minutes of your time on a weekly basis. Isn’t two minutes of your time worth reducing the landfill needs of this country? I think it is. Just remember you can not throw bones in with your food waste….they unfortunately still need to be thrown away.
About the Author
Bruce is the co-author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A guide to vegetable gardening for the rest of us. It is a practical easy to follow book that teaches gardeners everything from composting techniques, aeration and frost conditions, to choosing the right tools and picking the right seeds. To learn more about Mr. Tucker or to inquire about the book you can visit: AveragePersonGardening.com