While many of us start to put our daily stresses aside, the waste management sector experiences a significant increase in food and organic waste during the festive season. This places an increased amount of pressure on the waste sector, including the waste collection services, landfill sites and the natural environment. According to waste statistics, South Africa produces 25% more food and organic waste during the festive season, compared to other months.
“Small waste-wise habits that we can all implement will go a long way in keeping the volumes of organic waste going to landfill under control,” says Brian Küsel, from BiobiN South Africa. “While our consumption patterns are likely not to change during the festive season, it is easier to implement good waste management practices that can divert food and organic waste from landfill.”
BiobiN South Africa shares three top tips that consumers can follow to reduce their food and organic waste footprint:
1. Separate your waste types at home
The most important thing consumers can do is to separate their waste into recyclables, organic waste and landfill waste. Separating waste allows the management and processing of individual waste streams easier. When recyclables are dirty and mixed with organic waste, it decreases the value of the recyclables and recyclers will need to use a significant amount of water to wash dirty recyclable waste. Many recyclers will also not accept recycling that is mixed and dirty.
When food and organic waste are separated, it can be easily composted. Home composting systems are a great way to supplement your garden with a valuable soil resource. Composting on a larger scale has now become a lot more feasible with composting technology which has advanced significantly.
2. Support the businesses that compost
Many consumers are basing their purchasing habits on the retail outlets that offer the most environmentally friendly or sustainable packaging options. While recyclability should remain a determinant in your product buying choices, supporting the retail outlets that divert their food waste from landfill or compost on-site is a step further, and it is also crucial to achieve a sustainable waste management and retail sector. Shopping centres and restaurants generate a lot of food and organic waste which presents the biggest opportunity to repurpose this waste stream. This not only takes pressure off waste infrastructure, it also supports the local organic waste economy with the emergence of new small-scale composting businesses.
3. Donate excess food to charities and food distribution programmes
Along with better waste management in your home and better purchasing habits, donating excess food is both socially and environmentally responsible. Many of us will be left with excess food that is not used or eaten. This should be donated to your local charities and food drives. These organisations do not close during the festive season and always require support.
To find out more about this BiobiN South Africa, visit www.biobin.co.za