One third of food produced for human consumption is wasted globally every year. That’s approximately 1.3 billion tons of food discarded before it even has the chance to hit the plate. And what about the food that does reach us? According to research, we release up to 150kg of food into the general waste system each year, contributing to global methane emissions and climate change. Whilst food waste bins for food scraps can be provided by local councils, it’s near impossible to tell whether the food we dispose of responsibly is treated correctly once it leaves our homes.
Home Composting Food Scraps
Home composting is proven to have many benefits. Next to reducing waste destined for landfill by up to 30% and creating an ecosystem within your own home, home composting your food scraps introduces valuable organisms and nutrients to your garden soil. Carbon and nitrogen, are nutrients necessary for plant growth and the development of photosynthesis. Additionally, integrating compost into your existing garden soil contributes to the retention of water (TheGreenCities). Although compost cannot directly eliminate infections, valuable organisms generated through the composting process can contribute to deterring some soil borne diseases. Microorganisms, such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa, play a key role in breaking down the food scraps and can effectively aerate the soil – “which speeds up the composting process, converts nitrogen to a usable form, and repel some plant diseases” (TheGreenCities). Despite being a popular option for many household’s, factory-generated fertiliser – necessary if home compost is not generated – directly treats the plants without treating the soil that sustains them (ShillandScaping). The negative consequences of using these fertilisers can be long term, resulting in an undernourished garden.
The Importance of the Worm
As well as food scraps, worms play a crucial role in creating healthy and nutritional compost for your garden. Through their unique tunnelling habits worms can aerate the soil which “encourages aerobic bacteria to do their job of decomposition”. The nutrient-rich food scraps the worm consumes is subsequently converted into nutrient-rich compost.
Introducing Subpod: Where Your Food Scraps Want To End Up
Subpod is a revolutionary composting system that can process up to 20kg of food scraps a week. Through placing compost worms and microbes inside the Subpod, which can be placed in the soil on your vegetable patch, the scraps you feed the Subpod with are then transformed into nutrient-rich, homemade compost. The compost worms placed in the crate thrive in a subterranean climate and “protected from harsh weather conditions and direct sunlight” (Subpod) can compost the food scraps in their natural habitat. As the worms move in and out of the crate through the wormholes they explore the surrounding soil, “taking particles of compost with them and boosting fertility through the garden bed” (Subpod). Each Subpod comes with an additional food-grade stainless steel aerator in order to allow maximum airflow.
Vermicomposting – the name given to a composting system that employs worms – can break down food in 2 to 3 months. More traditional composting methods require up to 6 to 9 months to process food scraps. Unlike the Subpod system, the more traditional composting systems are often exposed in the garden, which can result in emitting bad smells or attracting unwelcome pests.
aware_ sat down with Peter, the cofounder of Subpod, to find out how the company sees the future of composting:
“The foodwaste problem isn’t going away. Recently California created a new law for businesses and households to start separating waste and encouraging composting programs.
We see a world where waste is recognised as a resource, and everyday people feel empowered to compost and grow food in their backyard.
We feel this transition can only happen through a community, where people can learn and share their experiences.
That’s why we have an online compost community, dedicated to helping anyone start composting.”
– Peter, cofounder of Subpod
The concept, which began as an idea between friends, has given wings to a product that allows the practice of composting to become part of everyday life. With the potential to save 4.4 million tons of CO2 a year, the Subpod composting system supports the global movement to process food scraps in a responsible, circular fashion.
– By Eliza Edwards