Coke can't take away my compost When Coca Cola sued the NT Government over the Cash for Containers scheme, our ability to deal with our own waste was seriously compromised. Our efforts to recycle have been at the mercy of distance, of population size, of Coca-Cola, and now at the viability of running the service in Alice Springs. It is disempowering to not be able to live sustainably by having most recycling options taken away from us or requiring considerable effort. Evidence suggests that economic growth contributes to an increase in waste. On the one hand, the strong Australian economy contributes to our fantastic standard of living. On the other hand, it comes with a responsibility to manage our own waste. What is not often talked about in Alice Springs though, is how we can reduce our food waste. Food waste contributes to 40% of household waste, produces methane, a gas 25% more dangerous to the atmosphere than CO2, and costs households around $1,036/year. We are wasting a whopping 20% of food that we buy! Putting that into perspective, it’s the same as buying 5 bags of shopping then dumping one of them into the bin. The only good thing about food waste is that we have 100% control over what food we buy, and how much of it goes in the bin. There are many inventive ways to limit the amount of food waste, the simplest being buying and cooking less food. Other ways to reduce food waste are pickling and preserving, eating more leftovers, and my favourite… composting. Coca-cola can still sue the government and try to remove the CDL, but it can’t take away our right to compost. Unlike Coca-Cola with its fizzy zing, compost is more of a slow brew—a recipe of carbon (hey or grass clippings), nitrogen (food scraps or manure), a sprinkle of water, a dash of love, and a regular turning with a pitchfork. There is a beauty in turning food scraps into an earthy, nutrient-rich material that you can use in your garden. So much so that some people get very excited about compost. But even if you’re a bit of a novice, like me, you can still get results in 6 months or so and gift your garden with a good injection of homemade compost. What’s not to love about saving money, reducing food waste, reducing your household’s greenhouse gas emissions, and growing soil. Hayley Michener is the Communications and Membership Officer with DesertSMART COOLmob.