food waste

Zero Waste Challenge #7: Start a Compost

Composting always reminds me of my grandmother. She had a bucket with a red lid in a corner of her kitchen and she’d throw her food scraps in there. Once it was full, she’d toss it into the big compost pile in her garden, keeping her kitchen waste to a minimum.

Food waste has a massive negative environmental impact. When we waste food we waste all the water, energy, and emissions it took to produce, package, distribute, and purchase the food. And you waste all the money you spent on buying the food!

The problem doesn’t stop there. Once food waste ends up in landfills, it produces methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to human-induced climate change. There are many adaptations you can make to minimise food waste at home, school, and work, and the next few posts will focus on these.

First off is composting. If you have a big enough garden, start a compost pile. You’d be amazed at what you can keep out the bin, once composting becomes an option. Even with small gardens and apartments, you can find suitably-sized bins to get you into the habit.

I don’t have a compost pile, but I throw out a lot of fruit and veggie scraps, which is why I have so many tomato plants (and birds) in my garden.

What to add to your compost pile


  • Fallen leaves
  • Grass cuttings
  • Twigs
  • Dead flowers
  • Egg boxes
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fruit and veggie scraps (like peels and cores)
  • Newspaper
  • Cooked pasta and rice
  • Stale bread and crackers
  • Nutshells (except walnuts)
  • Unpopped/burnt popcorn kernels
  • Pizza crusts
  • Avocado pits
  • Wine corks
  • Toilet paper rolls


  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Dairy
  • Animal faeces
  • Onions
  • Glossy or coated paper (which means no takeaway cups and practically any and all boxes from things like cereal, tea, biscuits, and crackers)

The items in the YES column don’t need to land up in the compost either. More on that in the next post!

Zero waste tip: Start a compost pile.

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