Compost options in Juneau expand and improve Juneau
By MARIA ROMFOE
Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong
Vast quantities of fresh produce are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock, and dumped in a landfill unless they are perfectly shaped and blemish-free.
High-value nutritious food is being sacrificed to the retailers’ unattainable demand for perfection because customers have an odd obsession with purchasing picturesque produce.
UAS exchange student Coco Tas spoke at the Nov. Power and Privilege Symposium advocating for reducing food waste, “The kind of global thing all of us have in common as human beings is that we need to eat; that is the most direct interaction we have with our environment.”
“I think in that respect wasting food is the most disrespectful or insensitive squandering of our privilege. The use of food in a sustainable way with consciousness and care are a platform in which healing and connection can take place,” said Tas.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, discarded food is the largest single component of landfills and incinerators making up 20 percent of total waste.
Food waste that ends up in landfills produces methane, a greenhouse gas that traps 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide in a five year period. Meaning, food waste is a major contributor to climate change.
In Juneau, initiatives are being made to reduce the amount of perfectly good food ending up in the dump.
Fred Meyer offers bruised and blemished produce for a discounted price and donates produce as well as certain packaged food items to food banks such as the Glory Hole. Safeway grants unsold produce a second life by preparing it and serving it in their in-store salad bar in addition to donating it to food banks.
In addition, recent start up business, Juneau Composts founded by Juneau resident Lisa Daugherty, collects kitchen scraps and turns them into nutrient rich compost.
The business offers weekly curbside collection at no extra charge.
Members pay a monthly fee to turn provided “feedstock” of food scraps and yard debris into finished compost.
The finished compost will be distributed back to members as it becomes available. The volume and frequency will vary depending on the materials collected as a whole.
So far 21,614 pounds of organic material has been diverted by Juneau Composts from the landfill in Juneau.
At UAS the Sustainability Club is also making progress to reduce food waste by implementing a composting system explains copresident of the Sustainability Club Katie McCaffrey.
“UAS has a small Worm Factory 360 compost bin that’s about 2’x2’ and is currently being kept in the utility room of John Pugh Hall… The (Sustainability) club is in contact with Lisa Doherty from Juneau Composts and would love to eventually have her take all of the university’s waste, if possible.”
Students can help reduce food waste by collecting compost in their kitchens, purchasing imperfect produce at the supermarket, and not over serving food and saving leftovers. As well as, donating extra packaged goods to food banks and using expirations and sell-by dates as
For more information on Juneau Compost go to http://www.juneaucomposts.com/.