Waste is a 5-Letter Bad Word


Waste is a bad word, certainly when it comes to food.

We all do it, at least sometimes: buying those unusual greens that despite our good intentions we never cook. Or taking home too much produce from a farmers market, almost ensuring some of it goes bad before we eat it.

And every day, we have pits and peels, carrot tops and squash skins.

All of it can fill our trash cans, but it doesn’t have to. Produce scraps are actually magic – with just a little attention, they can become super soil, full of nutrients. The process is called composting, and anyone can do it.

It takes a small outdoor space for a container where the scraps are layered with grass cuttings and other yard waste, turned over with a pitchfork and watered until it decomposes, with the help of lots of bugs.

Even if you have no outdoor space, you can give your food scraps to a neighbor or to LA Green Grounds or another organization. If you want to save the food scraps for more than a couple of days, you can freeze them to avoid any smells.

LA Green Grounds has one good-sized compost pile, shown here. In addition to produce scraps and eggshells, it gets leaves and other parts of plants that have been cut down or harvested. The only animal products in the pile are crushed eggshells. It gets turned over and watered regularly, so it all can decompose.

There are lots of bugs, yes. They do some of the decomposition work. But it doesn’t smell and eventually, in a few months, it becomes soil. Some of ours is the bucket shown here.

If you want to try it yourself, there are many online instructions. Try the LA Department of Public Works site to start.

- LAGG Garden Keeper Mary M.




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