If you’ve ever wanted to reduce your carbon footprint, the kitchen is a great place to start.
Your leftover food scraps that end up in the trash can eventually make their way to the landfill, where they produce methane gas. As a powerful greenhouse gas that is even more potent than carbon dioxide, methane is responsible for at least 25% of today’s global warming that is contributing to the climate crisis.
That’s a lot of power for some half-eaten vegetables and fruits! Luckily, there are other ways you can dispose of your food waste that can limit your effect on the environment, and perhaps even save you money too.
Below, we walk you through how to repurpose your food scraps to grow new vegetables or start a compost bin at home.
How to Regrow Food Scraps
Step 1: Cut the celery 2 inches from the base.
Step 2: Put the base of the celery bottom-down in a container filled with 2 inches of water.
Step 3: Place the container in direct sunlight and wait for the celery to sprout. In the meantime, make sure to change the water in the container every 2-3 days to prevent the celery from rotting.
Step 4: Once the roots have sprouted, add the celery to a pot of soil and continue to water it until new celery stalks grow.
Step 1: Cut your green onion 2 inches from the base, but make sure the roots stay intact.
Step 2: Put the green onion bulb into a container with enough water to cover the roots.
Step 3: Place the container in direct sunlight, keeping in mind to change the water every 2-3 days to prevent rot. A new green onion will sprout in the container so you can cut off as much or as little as you’d like for your cooking needs.
Step 1: Cut a head of lettuce 1 inch from the base.
Step 2: Add the base of the lettuce to a container filled with 2 inches of water.
Step 3: Place the container in direct sunlight. You’ll need to change the water every 2-3 days, but soon you’ll have a whole new head of lettuce sprouting from the container.
How to Make an Indoor Cold Compost Bin
To make a cold compost bin, find a medium-sized container with a lid. Make sure to puncture several evenly-spaced holes through the lid of the container, as this will help air circulate throughout the compost to break down organic materials.
Step 1: Add a dry layer of soil to fill the first quarter of your container.
Step 2: Add your food scraps and other organic materials. You’ll want to maintain a 50/50 ratio of green materials and brown materials to build the compost properly.
For reference, green materials can include coffee grounds, bread, eggshells, vegetables, fruit, and anything else that is rich in nitrogen. Just make sure not to add dairy, fats, or meat to your compost bin, as they can attract pests to your compost bin.
Brown materials include leaves, wood shavings, cardboard, newspaper, and other items that will add carbon to your compost.
Step 3: Over time, take care to mix your compost mixture so everything breaks down together. Keep the compost moist by spraying it with water every few days. If the mixture starts to smell, add more brown material to soak up the extra moisture. If the compost is too dry, add green material.
By limiting the amount of food you throw away, you can do your part to reduce the amount of food wasted globally. And with the above tips, you may even find that it’s more fun to grow your own food at home instead of buying them at the grocery store.