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Q: What are your top tips for reducing food waste?  

 A: There is a difference between “food waste” and “wasted food.” Food waste would be a banana peel.. You aren’t going to eat that! (We actually call it “food scraps,” since it’s only “waste” if it ends up in a landfill, wasted.) Compost piles and worm bins love food scraps! Wasted food is moldy leftovers, wrinkly carrots, slimy kale, and expired milk.. They are things you could have eaten but didn’t.  

To combat wasted food buy what you will actually eat, and use up what you have.. I love getting organic string beans from Costco, but I could never use them before they went bad.. Now I always quick-pickle or ferment half the package right when I get it so nothing goes to waste.. Left overs are lifesavers! At dinner time, only dish up what you are going to eat.. That way, instead of having scraps on your plate to deal with, you’ll have untouched food you can eat the next day for lunch!  

To combat food waste compost or get livestock! At my house, the dog gets any scraps that are meat and fish related.. The chickens get almost everything, and the worms get what the chickens won’t eat, which is coffee grounds, egg shells, banana peels, and avocado skins and pits.  

Q: What do people need to get started in composting?  

A: If you have a yard it doesn’t take much to get started.. Make a bin out of pallets and stockpile a bunch of carbon.. Take a compost class or read up about it, then off you go: collect your food scraps and compost away! It’s a positive climate-action step you can take on in an afternoon that will become a life-long habit. 

Q: What are some common mistakes that people might encounter?  

A: Some people think you just throw your food in a pile outside.. If you do that it will stink, attract critters, and you probably won’t get finished compost in the end. Some people think you need to buy fancy bins or tools.. The only tool you need, if any, is a compost thermometer.. It’s all brains and biceps!