Compost food waste

Last updated: 6 January 2021

Around half of our household garbage is made up of food and garden waste. Composting instead of putting this waste in your rubbish bin stops it from going to landfill and creates a useful product instead. Food in landfill breaks down in a way that can create greenhouse gases, including methane, which affect air quality and contribute to climate change. Even if you are a renter living in an apartment there are composting options for you.

Why compost?

Start composting your food and garden waste to:

  • reduce the amount of waste you send to landfill
  • improve your soil structure and nutrient levels
  • trap moisture in your soil so it saves water (when used as mulch).

Home composting options

Whether buying a bin or building your own, home composting is easier than you might think. Many types of composting bins are available including:

  • outdoor bins, with or without ventilation and ground holes
  • tumblers
  • open enclosures
  • indoor/benchtop composters, like Bokashi bins
  • in-ground composting
  • vermicomposting (worm farms).

Which system is best for you?

Food waste and packaging

Each year in Victoria, households throw out 250,000 tonnes worth of food – enough wasted food to fill Melbourne's Eureka Tower. Learn to love your food and avoid waste, saving yourself money and protecting our environment.

Dealing with food waste

The best way to deal with food waste is to not create it in the first place through buying only what you need and using up what you’ve got. But even for unavoidable food waste like peels and offcuts, there are a range of ways you can put their nutrients to good use rather than in the rubbish bin:

  • Some councils have combined food and garden waste collections. Check your council website to see if your council offers one.
  • Set up your own compost, bokashi bin or worm farm. There's an option for every household type. Some councils even offer discounts on equipment.
  • Find a compost near you. Some councils offer community composting sites or you can sign up to sharing apps like ShareWaste.

A sustainable diet

For a variety of reasons, including lifestyle and ethical choices, some people choose to eat a plant rich diet. To find out more visit the Better Health Channel.