Successful Food Waste Recycling at Home

If you wish to keep your large food waste collection bucket outside, you may wish to keep a re-purposed 4 - 6qt. Tupperware type “kitchen container” with a snap on lid to collect your food scraps – to be located close to your sink/prep area in your kitchen. We have found that containers with very small air holes in the lid help reduce odors and reduce decomposition. 

To avoid odors and those nasty fruit flies in warm weather:

  • Keep the “kitchen container” in your refrigerator 
  • Empty the “kitchen container” into your larger 5 gallon pick up bucket every other day. 
  • Always rinse out your “kitchen container” after it gets emptied.
  • Line your “kitchen container” with other carbon based compostables such as used paper towels or plain Kraft shopping bags. This helps filter the air and soaks up any moisture that might develop.
  • Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your “kitchen container."
  • To avoid the same problems with your larger bucket, alternate the layers – add food scraps (nitrogen) one day, paper towels, leaves or wood chips (carbon) the next day.

Reducing Food Waste At Home

1) Shop smart. Plan your meals, use grocery lists, and avoid impulse buys. For instance, buy two loose carrots for that favorite recipe instead of an entire bag. Or buy rice from a bulk bin instead of a three pound bag.

2) Manage Your Leftovers – Freeze your leftovers for next week or eat that favorite casserole for lunch at work the next day. Once a week create a “use it up meal” from all your left overs and/or foods that are about to go stale or be unusable.

3) Use It All - Use vegetable and meat scraps to make healthy homemade stocks. Use citrus fruit rinds and zest to add flavor to other meals. Soft fruit can be used in smoothies; wilting vegetables can be used in soups, etc. And both wilting fruits and veggies can be turned into delicious, nutritious juice. Finally, freeze the food to be used later.

4) Check the fridge. Make sure it’s functioning at maximum efficiency. Look for tight seals, proper temperature, etc. — this will ensure that the fridge keeps food fresh as long as possible.

5) Understand Expiration Dates - If stored properly, most foods (even meat) stay fresh several days past the “use-by” date. Freezing foods extends their shelf life.

6) First In, First Out – In many cases foods spoil because they get pushed to the back of the fridge or pantry shelf. Avoid clutter and when putting away new food purchases rotate older foods to the front so you use those first.

6) Donate - Give what you don’t/can’t use to your local food pantry or your neighbors.

7) Compost It! – Start a compost system at home, give it to your neighbor who has a compost pile or container, or bring your food waste to us at The Compost Exchange.

For more tips go to: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home#ways