Reduce your overall food waste

When you go to the market or the grocery store, make sure you are not buying more food than you can eat before it goes bad. Doing this will ensure that less food gets thrown into landfills and will also ensure that you save money!

Composting

Composting imageAfter peeling, chopping, or eating fruits and vegetables it’s easy to throw the unused bits in the garbage. But did you know that throwing food away in the garbage bin can have unhealthy consequences for the environment? Food that sits in landfills inside plastic garbage bags creates methane, a gas that is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. To avoid this process from happening it is best to avoid this practice altogether.

Composting is the process of decomposing organic matter, such as your food scraps, mixing them with dry organic matter, such as leaves or twigs, and waiting for the materials to break down into rich soil after a period of several months. Creating a compost routine is not as difficult as it sounds; there are a few different methods including countertop, yard, solar bin, and vermiculture.

Countertop composting is one step before adding your scraps to your backyard pile, city collection, or community garden. Use a medium sized bucket (or even an old coffee tin) to collect your scraps and once it’s full you can dispose of them in whichever way suits you best. Yard composting is another great method! You will need to get a large tub with a lid (or you can just make a big, open pile!) and start throwing your food scraps and yard waste into it. Be sure to add water sometimes to help the materials break down. Solar composting is great because it uses a cone-shaped bin to regulate temperature, moisture, and airflow in order to accelerate the composting process. Using a solar composter can produce compost for your garden every couple of weeks rather than every few months. One more type of composting you can do at home is vermiculture. This kind of composting involves using earthworms to break down organic materials to create vermicompost that is rich in nutrients and healthy microbes.

Fanshawe practices composting every day! You will find compost bins located around campus where you can deposit your food scraps and paper food packaging such as sandwich wrappers and coffee cups (not the lids). What do we do with our compost, you ask? We send it to a biogas facility, StormFisher, that generates renewable electricity and renewable natural gas and turns organic materials into organic based, granule fertilizer and liquid fertilizer. These materials are then distributed to customers to create and maintain sustainable practices. To learn more about Fanshawe’s compost and waste practices visit the Waste Management page.

Composting your everyday food scraps can greatly reduce your carbon and methane footprint, so start your composting journey today!

Take-out meals

Buying food that is already made can be convenient and easy when you’re busy or just don’t feel like cooking. But all of that take-out waste has a big impact on the environment. Did you know that Styrofoam and black plastic take-out containers are not recyclable?

Often times styrofoam and black plastic are the materials that restaurants use when packaging their food for customers. Take-out is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, just imagine the mass amount of waste that is produced from it! There is a way for you to reduce your environmental impact when ordering take-out food, though.

One way to reduce your impact of ordering take-out is to simply cook more and order less. By doing this, you’ll be saving money, creating food for yourself that is healthier, and having fun creating new meal ideas! Cooking more is also a great way to bond with your family and friends. You can also reduce the amount of waste produced with take-out habits by ordering from restaurants that do not use Styrofoam and other non-recyclable or compostable containers.

Buy local imageBuy local and in season

Depending on the food and the season, food miles are a real concern in terms of sustainable purchasing. Buying fruits and vegetables when they are in season and local to your area will help to reduce your carbon footprint.

In the summer it can be great fun going to farms and picking your own produce to bring home! In the winter, try to find produce that has the shortest distance to travel before hitting your plate.

Buying local also means that you will be supporting people within your community. Helping those around you, in the end, will help you, too!

Visit the Foodland Ontario website to find out what produce is in season.

Ten reasons to buy local:

  1. Fresher food:
    Farmers’ Markets usually get their produce directly from the farmer! This means the food was picked and packed the same week, instead of being picked and ripened on a truck, and has spent less time in transportation, which improves the flavour and nutrients available in your food;
  2. Less packaging:
    Each year, 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean, and that number is only increasing. Choosing to buy local produce usually means there is less packaging, known as naked produce. Also, be sure to bring your own reusable bags!
  3. Help the local economy:
    By choosing to support local farmers, you are choosing to keep the local economy going! More jobs are created, and you will feel a sense of connection to your community;
  4. Help support your neighbours:
    When you choose to buy local produce, you are choosing to support those who live around you. You are helping to support people to feed their families, pay their bills, and put a roof over their heads. Local people also appreciate you far more than a giant grocery store will;
  5. Know where your food comes from:
    When buying food from a big store, you can never be sure where it is coming from, what pesticides have been used, or if those who have produced it are being treated fairly. When you buy local, you can ensure all of these things and feel good about your purchase;
  6. Better for the planet:
    Local produce does not have to be shipped very far, which means that less fossil fuels are being burned. The less fossil fuels being burned, the better the air quality of the planet;
  7. More fun:
    Farmers’ Markets are often accompanied by other events as well. Things like live music, hot food and drinks, and crafts can be available to those who choose to get out and explore the market. Often times these things are cheaper than the store as well;
  8. Meet the farmers:
    Going to the Farmers’ Market often gives you the chance to meet the people who are producing your food. Look for pick-your-own programs! Going out in the summer to pick strawberries, apples, blueberries, and peaches is always a fun way to connect with your food and the earth!
  9. Save money:
    Usually when buying local produce, it is cheaper than buying from the regular grocery store. Fruits and vegetables that have to travel a long way need to be preserved, this can increase the price and tends to have preservatives, even on “organic” produce;
  10. Buy in bulk:
    The market is a great place to buy in bulk! You can get as much or as little as you want; you can even find things like bath products that are package free. It is also a great way to save money; packaging costs money and when you choose to buy without packaging, you are saving yourself the cost of it.

@FanshaweCollege