United Nation’s Think.Eat.Save Campaign To Reduce Food Waste.

Mound of wasted food.The Think.Eat.Save campaign wants to make it easy for people to reduce the amount of food they throw out. With the help of the NRDC and WRAP UK, Think.Eat.Save compiled a list of tips we can follow immediately to reduce food waste. Here are some to help you get started:

  1. Shop Smart — plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items.
  2. Understand Expiration Dates — in the US, “sell-by” and “use-by” dates are not federally regulated and do not indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Rather, they are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after their use-by dates.
  3. Zero Down Your Fridge — eat food that is already in your fridge before buying more or making something new, which will save time and money.
  4. Say Freeze and Use Your Freezer — frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you won’t have the chance to eat them before they go bad.
  5. Request Smaller Portions — restaurants will often provide half-portions upon request at reduced prices.
  6. Love Leftovers – tonight’s leftover chicken roast can be part of tomorrow’s sandwich. Very few of us take leftovers home from restaurants. Don’t be embarrassed to do so!

Worldwide, over 1/3 of all food produced is not consumed. And the waste isn’t limited to tossed food; it’s also a massive waste of land, energy and water necessary to produce and deliver the 1.2+ billion tons of food we throw out. [Guardian]


TEDTalks Spoofed By The Onion In “Compost-Fueled [Compostable] Cars: Wouldn’t That Be Great?” Video.

The Onion
does a great job spoofing the TEDTalks videos. Funny video with a “be cautious of green” message. [Gizmodo]


What To Do With Your Jack O’ Lantern After Halloween.

Sad rotting Jack O' Lantern wishes he were a pie.

"Wish I were a pie."

In addition to sharing a short 3 week lifespan, Jack O’ Lanterns and Christmas trees also share a disposal problem. Once your pumpkin is carved, post Halloween uses for your Jack O’ Latern are limited. So we searched around to find simple alternatives to throwing your briefly-loved Jack O’ Lantern into the trash and here’s our list:

    1. Bury Jack: the easiest non-garbage option is to bury Jack somewhere in your yard.
    2. Compost Jack: cut him up first and then dump his remains in the compost bin.
    3. Pickle Jack’s rind: if it’s relatively fresh. (Not doing this.)
    4. Feed Jack to chickens: chickens would love to eat Jack. Give him to a neighbor with chickens or take him to a local farm.

Another option is to have your kids paint a face on the pumpkin, instead of carving, and then shine a light on it. When Halloween is over, you’ll have a non-rotting and intact pumpkin that the chef in your house can go nuts with preparing soups, desserts etc.


Surprise Of Last Week: Finding Sun Chips Bag In Our Compost Bin.

Compostable Sun Chips bag in tumbler composter.The whole debate around the more audible, compostable Sun Chips bags is old news now but that didn’t lessen our excitement when we cranked our compost bin last week and re-discovered a bag we put in our tumbler 10 months ago. It has become elasticky and is definitely in the process of breaking down. We’ll give it another 10 months and see what happens.


The Green Cycler From Ecotonix May Have Your Kids Fighting To Grind The Pre-Compost

Designed by gardener Gail Loos, the Green Cycler is a cool idea that could make pre-composting fun. It’s a hand-cranked composting aid that speeds up the process by grinding up your plant waste before you add it to your compost pile and I could definitely use one. The compost in my Sun-Mar drum composter looks like an un-fruit salad with intact apple cores, pineapple skins and orange peels that aren’t breaking down because they’re too big. With the Green Cycler, I have no doubt that my kids would grind our compostables down and they’d even fight to be the one doing the cranking.

As useful as the Green Cycler seems, I’m not ready to shell out $139 to get one. I think the only way I could justify the purchase of a Green Cycler is if I made it a Christmas gift and gave one to my kids. [Treehugger]


WISErg Corporation Creates WISErganic’s Organic Liquid Fertilizer From Local Food Waste

WISErg Corporation's Harvester

WISErg's Harvester

The Seattle Times posted an article about WISErg Corporation and their goal to reduce the amount of plant-based food waste from grocery stores and produce companies by converting it into a valuable product – their WISErganic organic liquid fertilizer. The process starts by capturing the food waste onsite in a silo type system, the Harvester ($40k – $55k), that holds and minimally processes the plant matter until it’s picked up by WISErg in 10 days. At WISErg, the slurry is anaerobically broken down, chemically stabilized, packaged and sold as WISErganic ($8 for 32 oz) brand organic liquid fertilizer. It’s takes the plant waste through the “full-circle” waste cycle and will reduce the amount of organic waste entering landfills.

Currently, WISErg has their first Harvester installed at an organic grocery store, PCC Natural Market, that is located about a mile from their headquarters. With the Harvester, PCC has been able to reduce the number of compost pickups from three per week to one.

Full-circle recycling is great and being able to create the WISErganic fertilizer is a nice bonus but I’m still not sure this is going to fly. Why? Because it’s not cost effective for a grocery store or produce company to fork out $40,000 – $55,000 (+ $350/month maintenance) for a Harvester when they could just continue throwing their plant-based waste into a trash for much less. Yes, WISErg has a lease option but the fee still has to be less than the cost of tossing food in the dumpster. WISErganic Organic Liquid Fertilizer There has to be more of an incentive for businesses to want the Harvester system because being green will only motivate a few and they aren’t the Safeways and Costcos.

I do hope WISErg makes this work but they need to offer their partners more in order to be successful. Exclusively selling their organic liquid fertilizer, at WISErg’s cost, to partner resellers that use the Harvester would be a good start. Another option would be to cut the price of the Harvester and waive the maintenance fee so it is an investment with no recurring costs. Then it could possibly payback in the seven years they’re expecting.

WISErg may also reward their partner stores based on how much they put into the Harvester each month and it could be used to defray some of the initial investment. Kind of like a kickback, they can call it a greenback, that is based on the amount of liquid fertilizer sold by WISErg.

We’ll see what happens and hopefully this is not going to end up being a great idea for which the market just is not ready. [Seattle Times]