With the holiday season in full swing the amount of waste headed to our landfills increases by the millions. How much of your holiday can be composted? Everyone can start with food waste. The EPA says that “food waste” is now the “largest component of municipal solid waste being sent to landfills.” First you will need to identify your compostable material. Not all food scraps can go in your backyard compost pile. Fruits and vegetables are always fair game. Rice, bread, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds with their filters are also compostable. Want to learn more about composting? Sign up for one of our FREE Workshops! Meat, fish and cheese should be kept out of the backyard compost pile, as well as bones and other oily or greasy materials. One way of composting these types of waste is Bokashi. Bokashi is often referred to as a type of ‘composting’ but it is actually an anaerobic fermentation process, resulting in a much different end product than that produced via your backyard composting methods.
The next biggest component of waste during the holidays is wrapping materials! Here are a few ways to keep wrapping materials from filling up the landfills. Purchase only wrapping and ribbon that can be placed in the compost pile or be reused. Wrapping made without glossy or metallic coatings can be composted or recycled. Tissue paper should always be composted. Tissue paper is usually made out of recycled paper; therefore the fibers are already shortened to the point where it cannot be recycled again. Cardboard tubes and boxes are compostable or recyclable. Gift bags give us the best solution they can be saved and used again. And last but not least recycle all of the cardboard, ridged plastics and Styrofoam from all the gift packaging. - Tricia Pogue Environmental Educator