UCF student organization, Ideas for Us, held their first DIY composting workshop on Tuesday, as a tool to combat the amount of food waste in America.
The workshop was held in the Student Union, where about 10 participants learned how to use wasted food to help minimize its affects on the environment.
The club's mission is to solve global environmental issues on a local scale, according to Kristen Anderson, senior biology major and club president. They focus their efforts based on five pillars of the environment: waste, water, ecology, energy, and food. This month they are focused on food.
“[Food waste] goes ignored because people think [that if] it’s food, it will just decompose, it doesn’t matter. But that is a pretty bad thought, because a lot of methane is produced from food waste,” Kristin Anderson, senior biology major and club president, said.
According to the EPA, 31% of produced food ends up wasted. A vast majority of that uneaten food ends up in a landfill.
During the workshop, participants got an opportunity to learn more about how composting is beneficial to the environment. Everyone was given reusable plastic bins, a list of wasted foods good for a compost and instructions on how to create a compost bin at home.
Anderson said that just because food is ugly or uneaten does not mean you should throw it away.
Food left to decompose in landfills is responsible for approximately 23% of methane emissions in the U.S., according to the Natural Resource Defense Council; methane emissions have been increasing steadily since 2007.
One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of food waste is to purchase, use, and eat food more responsibly. This means preparing only the amount of food someone will eat at a given time or meal prepping for the week, according to Ideas for Us organizers.
The workshop shared affordable and easy tips anyone can practice to become more environmentally friendly.
“People can help by buying food in bulk, storing their food properly and repurposing wasted food through composting,” said Melanie Anderson, senior creative writing major and Ideas for Us digital media director.
The main goal of the workshop was to give participants the tools they need to reduce their methane footprint, Anderson said.
The workshop provided insight for many of the participants and some participants even had their own contribution to make.
Luisana Castillo, a senior political science major, said she has been trying to be more environmentally friendly and even has her own composting pile.
“I’ve researched ways to minimize my effects on the world. I encourage my roommates to recycle and I go to beach clean-ups with 4Ocean," she said. "The simple things are easy to do.”
The rise in temperature - commonly referred to as global warming and climate change - has had a significant impact on the environment. According to NASA, glaciers are shrinking, ice is melting faster and sooner than normal causing rising sea levels, and animal habitats are shifting.
Emma Roehrig, sophomore political science major and vice president of the club, said that awareness comes first to help solve this global crisis.
“What we try to do is help individuals work as hard as they can, but I think that they should know the bigger picture," said Roehrig. "With sustainable issues, the individual has to be aware to help in the future. The more we advocate the higher up the awareness is.”