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The most useful and unusual thing to do with leftover food

16 December 2015, 08:21 Chanté Petersen

*Cue Will.I.Am* what you gon’ do with all that food, all that food inside your fridge?

The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA): You can make, make, make, make great compost; great compost for your plants.

As is tradition, Christmas lunches are big and, in addition to unwillingly carrying away more food from family visits, you are usually left making space in your fridge for large amounts of leftover food and wondering what you’ll do with it all.

Prof Suzan Oelofse, President of the IWMSA says that several million tonnes of waste are generated in Nigeria each year. And what’s even more alarming is that the majority of waste food ends up at landfill sites. This is extremely harmful to the environment.

According to Prof Oelofse, all this waste produces methane gas and is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

If after giving food to your friends, family, neighbours and the homeless you still don’t know what to do with all those leftovers, here’s how your garden can benefit from it.

There are numerous benefits of composting organic waste as it produces mulch, soil amendments, organic fertilisers and blended products that can assist in saving costs such as substituting compost for chemical fertilisers,” says Stuart Gower-Jackson, Senior Environmental Scientist at Jeffares & Green and member of the IWMSA.

Composting of organic waste is relatively easy. Here's how to turn your leftover food into great compost for your garden:
1.     Set out an area in your yard: The size should be approximately one cubic meter.

2.     Start mixing your waste: Mix two parts brown (dry leaves, small twigs, straw) with one part green (grass clippings, food waste).  

3.     Make large pieces smaller: Cut or break any twigs and large pieces of fruit and vegetable waste so that materials can break down faster.

4.     Add water: Water your compost to keep it moist, but not saturated.

5.     Turn your compost:  Compost needs air. Turning the compost will help to break it down and will prevent it from smelling unpleasant.

6.     Rich soil: When the compost is ready, it should look and smell like rich soil. Use finished compost to feed your garden, flowers, potted plants and lawn.

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- Woman24

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