Convert Food Waste into Compost!

Food scraps are the largest single item in our waste stream and make up about 1/3 of what we throw away. Food scraps when turned into compost, are a valuable resource used by landscapers, farmers, and gardeners. Compost improves soil quality, water retention, increases crop yield, and reduces the need for fertilizers and pesticides. Food scrap composting reduces green house gases. Food scraps emit more methane than any other material in the landfill, and methane is 23 times more potent a GHG than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Food waste has unique properties to be used as a raw compost. Food waste that is not composted generally goes directly to a landfill.  As landfills fill up and close at an alarming rate, waste disposal and tipping fees to the businesses and institutions generating the waste will continue to climb. Once in the landfill, organic matter may react with other materials and create toxins. Food waste placed in an airtight landfill stops the earth’s natural cycle of decomposition.

At Outside2Inside, our goal is to find an innovative way to decompose food waste at home and create compost to grow organic produce at home.

What is Composting?

Composting is the natural process of decomposition and recycling of organic material into a humus-rich soil amendment known as compost. For any business or institution producing food waste, this organic material can be easily decomposed into high-quality compost. Compost is the organic matter that has decayed and broken down such that it looks like dark-colored and rich dirt. The components of that powdery substance are nutrients such as nitrogen, zinc, and potassium which plants need to access easily to that they can grow strong. Bacteria that are necessary to ward off invaders or diseases that threaten to damage plants are also present in compost. Food waste is the second biggest part of the waste stream, after paper and it comprises 14.5% of everything that is thrown away. The best way to recycle food is to compost it. If you want flowers, vegetables, fruits, and house plants to grow better, then consider using compost as it is a great resource. Compost also prevents farmers and gardeners from using excess water. Food waste that is allowed to reach landfills decompose and produce a greenhouse gas called methane, which is 72 times potent in trapping heat in the atmosphere for roughly 9-15 years than CO2.

What are the primary ingredients of Composting?

Good compost piles must have three primary ingredients: dry leaves (or browns) nitrogen-rich food waste (or greens) and materials rich in carbon such as newspapers. When these materials are mixed in the right ratio, you get to create a very suitable environment for the beneficial organisms to obtain two extra things that they need to produce compost, which is oxygen and a good pile with the appropriate temperature.

Citrus should be used sparingly when converting food waste into compost as it can destroy beneficial bacteria if used in large quantities. The following foods should not be used for making composts: Bones, Seafood, Meat, Dairy products, Hot peppers, Plastics (utensils, wrap, bags), grease, glass, Metals — including condiment packages, foil, silverware, drinking straws, bottles, polystyrene or chemicals.

How we Recycle Food Waste through Composting?

Compost4You Program:

We help the local community understand the problems of food waste, educate them and collect food scraps from local houses, restaurants and corporations and help convert them as Compost for local farms. Composting is about more than waste reduction. Community composting done right is about food production, education, nutrition, job creation — it’s about community. We  partner with local urban farms, gardens, not-for-profits, and government agencies to build healthier, more sustainable food systems, starting with the soil. We help communities, individuals and businesses reduce their carbon footprint and reconnect people to healthy soil – where healthy food comes from.

Composting in a Jar Class:

Through a fun interactive class, we teach both kids and adults about sustainable living and the environment. “Composting in a Jar” Class is a beautiful program where they learn about composting, its benefits, which food is compostable and which is not, etc. Finally, in a beautiful outdoor setting, everyone learns to create a small composting jar. Currently, this class is conducted free of cost by Outside2Inside every summer in Sacred Heart Community Center, San Jose. If you are interested in participating in this fun course, please join us. Details of the events can be found in our event calendar.

Composting in a Jar Class

Compost Bin:

At hоuѕеhоldѕ, food (vegetables, fruits, leaves, and other plant-based food) wаѕtе іѕ thrown аwау еvеrу dау. We aim tо rеduсе thіѕ waste bу сrеаtіng a home-based wаѕtе bin, whісh stores, grinds аnd соnvеrtѕ fооd wаѕtе іntо a соmроѕt. Thіѕ compost іѕ thеn uѕеd as an fеrtіlіzеr оr manure for thе home-based рlаntѕ. Thus, сlоѕіng the lоор by using рlаnt bаѕеd fооd to еnrісh рlаntѕ аnd grоwіng plant food. This Compost Bin project is one of the long-term vision of Outside2Inside and currently we are still researching on a cost-effective solution so that its affordable for the public.

Composting Benefits

Benefits of compost to the environment include: Water and soil conservation, Protects groundwater quality, Minimizes odors from agricultural areas, Avoids methane production in landfills by diverting organics from landfills into compost, Drastically reduces the need for pesticides and fertilizers and Composted manure weights about one-fourth as much as raw manure per ton. Benefits of composting to agriculture include: Long-term stable organic matter source, Buffers soil pH levels, Increases yield and size in some crops, Reduces fertilizer requirements, Restores soil structure after natural soil microorganisms have been reduced by the use of chemical fertilizers, Increases earthworm populations in soil, Provides slow, gradual release of nutrients, reducing loss from contaminated soils, Reduces water requirements and irrigation and Provides opportunity for extra income; high-quality compost can be sold at a premium price in established markets.

Producing quality compost is the most important job on the organic farm!