Reduce, reuse and compost

family-compostingFor day 9 of our carbon fast, we’re focusing on the 3 Rs.

The suggestion reads “Reuse and recycle waste, and compost food waste to reduce the rubbish destined for landfill sites. If you don’t have one, consider buying or making a composter. The average US household produces about 4.5 pounds of solid waste per day. Landfill sites are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, with every pound of solid waste generating 2 pounds of greenhouse gases. Composting is methane-free and does not produce carbon.”

The 3 Rs

Most people who read this site are familiar with the 3 Rs – the key is to remember that they are in the order: reduce, reuse, recycle for a reason!

Recycling is end of the line when you’ve got something in your home that needs to be responsibly disposed of.

By reusing items, we can extend their life and save resources. A simple example is a large honey pot I have here for storing pens! I could have recycled the honey pot and bought a new pen pot – where would the sense be in that? I’ve saved money AND resources.

Reduce and reuse

By Reducing the amount of stuff we buy, we eliminate the problems of end disposal altogether. In the Western World we blindly buy stuff, fuelled by boredom, aggressive advertising campaigns and habit. It’s better to learn to separate wants from needs and one only needs to look at stories like the earthquake in Japan to realise you can’t take it all with you …

If you only have a small home or no garden you might be wondering how you can compost. Traditional composting requires a large ‘heap’ at the end of a big garden. However, with more people having less land, composting can be designed to fit your space.


A wormery takes up no room at all and produces both liquid fertiliser and compost. The beauty of a wormery is that unlike traditional composting, you can add a small amount of cooked food, such as plate scrapings.

A bokashi bin sits on your kitchen work surfaces and takes all food scraps including meat, fish, dairy and even small meat bones. You layer the food with special bran which gradually ‘ferments’ the food.

Food scraps for birds

Remember too, that a lot of ‘waste food’ can be used to feed the birds in your garden. They will eat

bread, cake and biscuit crumbs
bacon rind
cooked rice
dried fruit
the end of a packet of breakfast cereal
bruised / windfall fruit
Cooked potatoes
cat and dog food

What could you do to increase the amount of recycling or composting you do at home?