This is part of our ongoing series, called DTL (that stands for Down to Learn), where we take deep dives into the odd, nuanced and mysterious world of sustainability. Each article in our series should give you a good icebreaker for your next Zoom, or perhaps even inspire you. Today, a discussion about food and sustainability.
All October, we’ve been thinking a lot about making the conversation around sustainability more inclusive by offering simple guidelines about everything from shopping sustainability to living sustainability at home. As we wrap up our birthday month (did you catch the celebrations?), we wanted to spend some time discussing how to approach food more sustainably. After all, this is a natural starting point seeing as food is an essential part of everyone’s day. There are a ton of parts to this topic, so we’ll be focusing on two areas we know best: composting and eating more sustainably.
ICYMI, last year we shared a comprehensive compost breakdown spanning everything from the benefits of composting to brief how-to’s for setting up either of two indoor composting methods. Today, we’re covering the basics of how to start.
Composting, at its core, is all about helping foods rot and break down faster so they can help nourish our soils instead of heading off to landfill to release methane (a greenhouse gas that warms the earth even faster than carbon dioxide). But this process doesn’t just take place on 20-acre farms or large community gardens: you can start it right from the comfort of your own home.
There are two methods for indoor composting (more info on that here). For composting beginners and any folks wanting to dabble in the process, we recommend collecting compost in a bin and taking it to a collection site near you. Need help finding a compost site? Here are sites by state, but local farmers markets are great places to look as well.
As for a bin, we’re a bit biased, but this exclusive-to-Goldune Buttercup compost bin we just launched is the perfect marriage between functional composter and colorful eye-catcher. What ~exactly~ can go in it? The short answer is fruit and veggie scraps and things like paper and dry leaves. But our founder answered this question in more detail during one of her weekly Q&A’s.
Need more help on how to start? We’re here to answer some questions:
- How hard is composting?
- It’s a breeze- we promise! Have cooking scraps or dirty napkins from Tuesday’s takeout? You can toss them right in the bin. Worried about a smell? Compost liners do just the trick.
- My bin- where does it go?
- Any spare space in your kitchen will do!
- Compost bags- do you need ‘em?
- Nope! But it will make your compost easier to transport and keep your bin cleaner in the long run.
- Dropping off compost- how long should I wait?
- Depends on how much you’re composting, but for two people who cook, it would take them about a week to fill their bin. Emptying it every weekend is a great practice!
Flexible eating habits: don’t subtract, just add!
We understand conversations around eating sustainably can get a little dicey, but here at Goldune, we’re all about welcoming more folks to the sustainability conversation-- no shame or judgment for eating in ways that are within your means or make you feel good. “Sustainable diets” restricting the foods you can eat aren’t really our jam- in fact, our jam is thinking outside of the jar. That’s why we love an adding mindset, where the focus is on adding foods into your diet rather than subtracting them.
What are climatarians and flexitarians anyways?
Climatarians are folks who try to opt for low-carbon foods. Generally, this means thinking about how far the food traveled to get to its destination, what kind of farm/factory/etc. it came from, and under what conditions it was harvested. Often, climatarians will seek out local, seasonal foods (which traveled less, meaning less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere). But this doesn’t have to involve cutting out foods you enjoy, like dairy products or meat. Sourcing these products more locally, from responsible farms, and eating them in moderation are great ways to get the ball rolling.
Flexitarians are folks who like adding more plant-based meals to their diet. Instead of subtracting simple pleasures (cheese boards are our personal vice), flexitarians add more vegetables, fruits, and legumes into their meals. It’s all about thinking outside the box and discovering new sources for things like protein (try: lentils, nuts, beans) and iron (try: dark, leafy greens and broccoli). We love this type of thinking because it acknowledges that things like meat and dairy products have a larger carbon footprint (releasing more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change), but these products can be eaten in moderation and substituted for delicious plant-based meals when you’re up for it.
When it comes down to it, we love trying out something new, whether that’s composting or incorporating more plant-based foods into our eating habits. As always, we’re happy to welcome more folks to dine at our table.