The kitchen is well-known for being the room that generates the most waste. Food waste is the biggest culprit, as many ingredients need to be peeled, chopped, trimmed, and cut to prepare it for meals.
If you do not have a system for removing food waste built into your kitchen design in your apartment, then you will build up garbage fast and end up either wasting time and resources taking the trash out or have an awful smelling room. To avoid these problems, consider integrating basic food waste solutions into your kitchen.
One of the easiest solutions to integrate is the garbage disposal. This unit is installed underneath the sink and features an impeller plate that rapidly spins, crushing food against the sides of the disposal. The pressure pulverizes food into small bits, making them easier to rinse down the sink.
The garbage disposal was not invented until 1927 but has rapidly become a staple in North American kitchens. If you need to rinse dishes or dispose of food waste like leftover cooked pasta or sauces, then the unit is beneficial.
One thing individuals don’t realize is how much food cannot be disposed of through this system. Fibrous material like vegetable peels will not break down, and neither will fruit pits and similar hard materials. Instead, the garbage disposal is ideal for soft foods and items scraped off of plates at the end of the meal.
However, the garbage disposal is essential if you want to be rid of your food waste without investing in extra bins, trash bags, or more work on your part. Once the food is pulverized, the waste disappears down the drain and you never have to think about it again.
If you live on your own property with a yard, you can establish an outdoor composting area. These are locations where you can dispose of organic food waste like vegetables, fruits, and grains. You combine it with a basic substance like hay, decaying leaves, and paper without ink. Over time, it decomposes and becomes a usable fertilizer for your garden or grass.
If you live in an apartment, it is still possible to eliminate food waste through composting. Many stores now offer ‘worm bins’ or small portable compost containers for use indoors. In a worm bin, there are multiple layers (with worms) that break up organic material and produce a liquid and waste product called ‘worm tea.’ This liquid can be used wherever you like and the compost is easy to manage. Plus, the smell is mitigated by the bin.
Composting is often an ideal food waste solution for individuals who don’t want to contribute to the ever-growing landfills around the world. Although many people believe organic waste breaks down when thrown away, it does not. It is so surrounded by plastic, trash bags, and Styrofoam that it lacks the oxygen necessary to decompose.
Having one or multiple trash cans is one of the simplest solutions for food waste. Instead of worrying about recycling or composting, you can simply throw away unwanted scraps in a single location and take it out of the dumpster. The main downsides are how the bin will smell if food is left for a few days and the amount of plastic waste it generates throughout the week.
Depending on the type of meals you cook, it could become essential to have more than one bin. You can then assign different food types to each one to cut down on bad smells and the frequency in which you need to dispose of bags. For example, a separate container for meat is ideal so you don’t have to have the rotting smell and juices leaking into the trash.
Besides organic food waste, there is also an untold amount of plastic, Styrofoam, aluminum foil, and other inorganic materials involved in cooking and having food. In the modern world, almost everything comes in a synthetic container designed to be disposed of when you are done.
Unfortunately, all of the plastic and other materials will not degrade and will sit in a landfill somewhere when you throw it away. It can also clutter up your kitchen by building up waste fast. To better handle unwanted food waste, you can consider recycling.
The easiest way to recycle is to reuse packaging yourself. This means rinsing out peanut butter and mason jars to be reused as storage space for leftovers. It could also mean saving plastic bags to use again the next time you go to the store.
If you don’t want to reuse waste, get a separate recycling bin and contact a local company to pick it up. If you have to, you can also drop it off at the plant. The majority of locations will accept rinsed plastic containers, cardboard, and paper.
Food waste forms a whopping 30-40% of the food supply and is thought to be 20% of all landfills. It can also drastically clutter your kitchen and make it difficult to complete activities. To better prepare your kitchen for future cooking endeavors, consider incorporating some of the above solutions into your kitchen design. You don’t need to go out of the way to do so. Instead, you can build simple methods into the room itself so you can be rid of food waste without increasing your carbon footprint or wasting time and money.