Cycling food waste

Post date: May 19, 2018

Oooh, nearly 7 weeks since last post - apologies - been very focussed on Permaculture Australia website changes when on computer.

Took these photos 3 weeks ago to show what food waste we collect each week. We pick up from 2 cafes and 1 restaurant twice a week. We usually get 2 of the (horrible wax dipped) boxes of vegetables from a restaurant per week - carrot centres and peels, broccoli stems, lettuce stems, bok choy bits, and the like. We get 2 or 3 buckets of waste from one cafe and the grey plastic bags of food waste from another cafe. We get used coffee grounds from both cafes.

food waste

How we cycle this food waste; the poor quality food waste goes to the worm containers, the better quality food waste goes to the chickens, the coffee grounds get thrown around everywhere (as finely as possible), and vegetables go to the guinea pigs and the goats we will not consume. The worm containers get other materials such as manure, paper, cardboard and when it is broken down to a soft brown material it's used as a soil amendment before planting seedlings and around trees (put under their mulch). The chickens obviously eat and poop out theirs, as do the guinea pigs and goats, and the coffee grounds spread all over the place add organic matter. Sometimes they are added in small amounts to worm farms or compost. The chickens appreciate some diversity and the land where they are rotated around gets egg shells and anything else they don't eat as organic material on the surface. The photo below shows the food waste in a worm container (black soldier flies and pill bugs do a lot of the decomposition too):

food waste for worms

We calculated that in our 4.5 years of collecting this waste twice a week, we have cycled about 10 tonnes! This feels great as it is doing good in our garden and not creating methane in the landfill.