by Sheletta Brundidge
’Tis the season when everyone is enjoying their favorite holiday foods and planning special meals or parties with family and friends. Ramsey County is reminding residents to collect their food scraps during this festive time. Unused food that ends up in landfills is one of the main sources of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change.
“By keeping food waste out of the trash and taking it to a collection site, we can transform it into a resource. It will be turned into compost that will be used in gardening and landscaping,” explained Ramsey County Interim Environmental Health Division Manager Rae Eden Frank.
Frank noted that the best way to lessen food waste is to only buy what you need when it comes to fruits, vegetables, and other perishables. Tossing overripe, rotting or unused produce not only squanders the family grocery budget but also contributes to food waste.
But no matter how careful you are about managing your fridge and pantry, every home generates food scraps: fruit and vegetable peels and pits, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Ramsey County offers residents free compostable bags for collecting these items. The bags are available at the 24/7 drop-off sites listed below, the same places where the food scraps can be deposited.
“When things go in the garbage can, they don’t disappear. We have to think differently about what we use and what it becomes,” Frank said. “When food waste becomes compost, it produces healthier soil for growing more food for all of us.”
Frank urged folks to line a countertop can with a compostable bag to make it easy to collect food scraps while preparing meals. “Do it with your family.
“As parents, we can teach our children about what goes in the garbage, what goes in compost bins. If they’re cracking eggs with you, let them participate,” Frank said. “They’re learning good habits at home.”
During this busy time of year, don’t forget that you can always stick the bag of food waste and scraps into the freezer until it’s convenient to drop it off at a collection site. In 2023, Ramsey County will make food scrap collection even easier as the county pilots a curbside food scrap collection.