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June: Reduce Waste

June 2, 2014

Are you new to Homegrown Challenges?  If so, click here for more information.

Did you know that in the United States, we throw away 250 million tons of garbage in a year?  That’s a lot of trash!  When you throw something away it ends up in a landfill or incinerator, which can pollute the water, air, and soil, and uses up valuable land space.   The good news is, you can help with the trash problem at home!  In the kitchen and garden, a great way to reduce and reuse is to compost, turning food scraps into rich soil for your plants.  Over 96% of food waste ends up in landfills, so composting keeps significant amounts of waste out of landfills, and helps your garden at the same time.

Follow the June challenges below to reduce, reuse, and recycle!  When you do, snap a photo and let us know.  Submitted challenges count towards admission to a free celebration at Phipps Conservatory, and entry into this month’s drawing!  This month you could win four free passes to Phipps, or an Insect ID kit.

TASTE: Reinvent leftovers into a new meal, to avoid wasting food.

Don’t let little leftover bits of vegetables, grains or rice go bad and get thrown away.  Instead, try turning them into frittatas, pizza toppings, or soup.  Leftovers are a great opportunity for kitchen creativity!

GARDEN: Start a worm or compost bin.

Find more information and instructions for vermicomposting here, or visit Phipps’ Weekend Happening on June 21 at 1:30pm to learn about worm composting basics.

INVESTIGATE:  Find and identify bugs outdoors, and learn how they help the soil.

The compost pile is a great place to look– for tips on finding bugs, look here.  Check out a book from the library, or click here for help identifying some common insects.

 MAKE: Make a garden craft or decoration from recycled materials.

Turn “trash” into wind chimes, plant markers, birdfeeders, and more!  See our “Getting Crafty in the Garden” post for ideas.

Have another idea?  If you have an idea for a different activity, or you want to take it a step further, go ahead!  Just send us a description and photo, and if it relates to the theme we’ll count it.

All submissions should be sent to, and include a photo, your name, and the challenge(s) you completed.


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