Don't Have Curbside Composting? There's Still Much You Can Do

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Instead of throwing out fruit when it spoils, try freezing it. Photo: Shutterstock

Instead of throwing out fruit when it spoils, try freezing it. Photo: Shutterstock

Composting is a great way to get rid of food scraps and reduce your carbon footprint. It keeps organic material out of landfills, which helps avoid the climate-warming gases they generate. And, in addition to helping control household waste, it also can boost the life of your garden or plants.

Some forward-thinking communities are offering city-wide compost programs that help divert compostable yard and vegetative waste from city landfills. More than 100 cities, including San Francisco, Portland and New York City, now offer such programs, and many experts see composting as the next logical step in city recycling programs. But what if you live in an area where composting is not yet de rigueur?

Regardless of where you live — or how accessible composting is — you can still implement its principles into your daily life. Here are three easy ways:

Cut the fat. Reducing the amount of fat on the meat you buy also means that you’ll have less to throw out. (Same thing goes for buying meat with bones intact.) While leaner cuts may cost more, you might actually save money since you’ll be eating more of the meat and throwing away less.

Use the freezer. If you find yourself tossing out berries and bananas that have gone bad, you aren’t alone; some estimates say that the average U.S. family throws away as much as 40 percent of the food they buy! Before you fling the fruit into the trash, try freezing it for future use — frozen fruit works great in smoothies or mixed with oatmeal.

Get a bin. Even if you only have room for a countertop model, a composting bin beats a trash can any day. And if you don’t have your own garden to dump the compost into, look for a community garden near you.

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