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Why should we recycle organic waste?

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

How do we reach a recycling level where our waste is not our legacy?

We've met with the top researchers at CSIR and The Department of Science and Technology, and they are focusing on the ORGANIC waste stream.

But why focus on the organic waste when it is already biodegradable? Because did you know that although you care about climate change, you might be paying to make it worse? To illustrate this, we’ll consider the example of a banana peel.

A banana peel weighs a third of the total weight of a banana (measure it if you don’t believe me) so if you buy a bunch of bananas for R37, you are paying R11 for peels. If you buy a bunch of bananas every week, in one year you would have spent R570 on peels. If you add up the cost of the peels of all the other items in your food basket, it could become R10,000 in a year - and that's excluding any edible food that you've wasted.

But here’s the troubling bit: When you throw the peel in the garbage, when it reaches the landfill it gets covered with tons of junk and therefore degrades under ‘anaerobic’ conditions which produces methane - a strong greenhouse gas. This means that by buying peels and then throwing them away, you are effectively paying to increase climate change.

The peels are not the problem, and nor is waste, because we will always need peels and we will always not be able to eat them. The problem is that the peels reach the landfill and degrade under anaerobic conditions. If they were to degrade under aerobic conditions (the way they would on the soil), they would be carbon neutral and return to the natural nutrient cycle.

However, if we divert the organics away from the landfill, and compost them in an AEROBIC environment, the process only releases carbon dioxide (which is much less potent than methane), and results in a valuable soil conditioner which is so important for the future of farming.

Just imagine if you don't throw organic waste in the bin, what's left will just be dry stuff which makes it much easier to recover recyclables. We need to get the organics right before we can be successful in the rest!🥕🥕🥕 #OrganicFirst

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