Reduce Your Waste Footprint with Gardening

Submitted by jwalton on

When you grow a Climate Victory Garden, you’re using methods that draw carbon out of the air and store it underground. This action fights climate change, builds soil health, and helps you mimic natural processes that reduce your environmental impact. Growing your own food can reduce your waste footprint as well. 

When you purchase food from a grocery store, there's often unnecessary packaging and pollution generated throughout the food supply chain, from the farm to your fridge. And, as many grocery stores across the country aren't allowing reusable bags during the pandemic, the amount of waste from a single shopping trip can really pile up.

Gardening can reduce your waste footprint, because you're growing food close to home, using the best methods possible, and avoiding packaging--a boon for the planet and an important part of the climate solution. 


Grown in the Garden

Bought in the Store

How Can I Reduce Waste?


Little waste

Any natural "packaging" like peels, shells, and husks can be composted. Buy seeds with compostable packets.

A lot of waste

From plastic wrap and bags to Styrofoam and clamshells, single-use packaging is often non-recyclable.

Skip it if you can, choose products without packaging. Don't bag loose produce. Choose stores that use  boxes at checkout or allow reusable bags. 


Little waste

Chances are, your garden is close to home. Save seeds and source supplies locally when possible.

A lot of waste

Food travels an average of 1,500 miles to reach your plate and is most often transported using fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

Eat from your garden, where there’s almost no transportation-related emissions. If you have to shop at the grocery store, consider biking, walking, or taking public transportation.  


Little waste

For the freshest option, pick food when you’re ready to eat it. Preserve excess harvests by drying, canning, or freezing.

A lot of waste

Perishables are refrigerated on their long journey to your plate. This process is energy intensive, inefficient, and polluting. Refrigerants are one of the most potent greenhouse gasses.

Shorten your supply chain and cut out the middle-man to reduce emissions. US supermarkets emit the equivalent of 9.5 million cars every year from refrigerant leaks alone. 

Food Waste

Little waste

Because you put in the effort to grow it, you’re less likely to waste precious produce. Add stems and scraps to compost.

A lot of waste

One third of food grown never makes it to our plates. Much of it is discarded for cosmetic reasons before it even gets to consumers.

Embrace ugly veggies and plan your meals. If your food spoils, return that organic matter to the earth as compost, instead of putting it in the trash where it will produce methane once in a landfill.

Harmful Chemicals

Low to no impact

When you grow your own food, you know exactly what methods were used. Choose fertilization and pest management inspired by nature. Test your soil health if you’re unsure about its safety.

Negative impacts

Many chemicals used in agriculture have associated health, waste and climate concerns, from production to plate.

Put your health and the health of the planet first. If you want to keep toxic chemicals out of your body and the environment, opt for food grown organically, regeneratively, and (if possible) at home.


Ready to reduce waste in your own Climate Victory Garden? These resources are for you:

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